Does your company have a complex staffing problem that requires a flexible solution? FlexTrades has solved manufacturing headaches for hundreds of companies big and small in all 50 states. We have a skilled workforce that is professional and ready to come to you. Consider just a few ways that your company can use our flexibility to solve your skilled labor problems.

Five ways FlexTrades Clients See “Flex” in FlexTrades:

Large Projects to Small Projects – One client in the consumer goods industry needed FlexTrades’ Technicians to run their entire production process. We were at the client’s site using their machines, but 100% of the work was done by FlexTrades employees. We’ve also had clients who purchased a new machine and just needed one expert to come in to set it up and train their staff on how to run it.

Project Duration – We solved short-term production backlogs in eight weeks when a client needed a quick influx of productivity. FlexTrades’ Technicians kept a client’s facility running for multiple years in a row. We can fill any shift you are running, whether that’s a day shift and night shift, or a first shift, second shift and third shift. Our only requirement is that it’s at least 50 hours per week because our Technicians really like to work! We’re true partners, and our timelines can flex as needed to get the job done right.

Recurring Need vs One-Time Need – We can help you with recurring seasonal work or work based on cyclical market trends and order cycle fluctuations. Or we can help with your one-time backlog to get you caught up. Our solution is flexible enough to fit your unique manufacturing requirements.

Variety of Skilled Technicians – Our technicians have been deployed to fill just about every role found in manufacturing. Our clients most commonly require skilled Machinists, Welders, Maintenance Techs and Production Techs. Many clients also need Assemblers, Diesel Techs, Electrical Techs, Engineers, Fabricators, Machine Operators, Material Handlers, Programmers and more!

Quick Spool Up Time & Less HR Work for You – Generally, it takes a few weeks for a FlexTrades Technician to get up to speed. Many of our clients are shocked by their speed and proficiency after having worked with more typical staffing options and other workforce providers. FlexTrades provides an extensive support system to its Technicians to help limit extra work for your HR, management, and administrative staff. You just need to point our Technicians to their workspace and watch them get you back on track.

Why FlexTrades?

We chose the name “FlexTrades” because we recognize the importance of being flexible. Each of our clients has a unique staffing problem that requires a custom solution. We help them take advantage of our flexibility with our skilled and professional workforce. Click here to read more about our innovative solutions. If you’re ready to tackle your workforce problems, reach out to our Business Development Department today for a FREE, no strings attached consultation! 

It’s the heart of summer now and that means many things – shorts and t-shirts, barbecuing and grilling, backyard pools or trips to the beach and, in non-COVID-19 times, professional baseball games. It also means celebrating Independence Day by setting off large explosives in the sky (a.k.a. fireworks). That got us thinking – how are fireworks made? And that, of course, brought us to this month’s How It’s Made article.

Before we get to the specifics, I want to point out that fireworks can be placed in three general categories:

  1. Sparklers
  2. Fountains
  3. Aerial Shells

About Fireworks

Sparklers are hand-held fireworks, fountains are ground-based fireworks, and aerial shells are the large ones that you see exploding in the sky. You can break these categories down even further but, for the sake of this article, we’ll leave it at these three types. Regardless of the type, each firework contains key elements in various levels or combinations.

Those key elements can be seen in the image below which can be found at Key elements of fireworks include:

  1. Metal Compound Pellets (or Stars) – These produce the colors you see when fireworks are lit.
  2. Fuel/Bursting Charge – This creates the burn/blast of the firework.
  3. Oxidizers – In combination with the fuel, this produces the blast.
  4. Binders – Required to hold the mix of elements within the firework.
  5. Chlorine Donors – These are used to deepen the effects of certain colors.

As I mentioned, different combinations and different levels of these elements are used depending upon the type of firework and intended effect of the firework.

With all that said, let’s get to it.

Below are short summaries of the way in which each of the three types of fireworks are made. As we move through the categories, each type gets a little more complex in nature and the way in which they are built.


How Are Fireworks Made (1)

These slow burning wands of sparkles are made of a metal compound (depending upon color), black powder/gun powder (fuel/bursting charge), and a binder. When these elements are mixed with water, a slurry is created. Once the slurry has been concocted, the wand is dipped in the slurry then dried. This is the end of the wand that, when lit, emits the sparkles. When the fuse is lit, the powder ignites. This, in response, pushes the metal compounds out, creating the sparks.

Fun fact: The end of the wand can reach temperatures upwards of 2900° Fahrenheit!


How Are Fireworks Made (2)

Fountain fireworks are a bit more exciting than sparklers and, as a result, have more elements as well. Fountains consist of the following parts:

  1. Base
  2. Tube (made of paper or plastic)
  3. Clay Plug and Choke
  4. Metal Compound and Fuel
  5. Fuse & Protective Paper

For these, imagine a rocket. A mixture of the metal compounds and fuel are placed into a tube (the rocket), which sits on a base. The mixture is, of course, based upon the desired effect. Also, inside the tube is a clay plug at the bottom and a clay choke at the top. A fuse is placed through the clay choke at the top and then wrapped in protective paper. When lit, the flame travels down the fuse into the tube (the bottom of the rocket) to ignite the metal compounds and fuel which creates the display and sparks. Note: due to the nature of this setup, it does not “launch” the firework.

Aerial Shells

How Are Fireworks Made (3)

Bigger doesn’t always mean better but, in the case of fireworks, it usually does. Aerial shells are the largest in size when it comes to firework types. As a result, aerial shells are slightly more complex than the others in build.

It’s important to remember that, unlike other fireworks, there are two bursts that happen in aerial shells:

  1. The lifting charge – to lift the shell into the air
  2. The bursting charge – creating the burst of color and sound

To generalize the makeup of aerial shells, consider that of the fountain firework as aerial shells are similar. Where the differences lie is in the number of fuses, the purpose of the fuses, the number of chambers, and the design patterns.

Aerial shells have two fuses: the time-delay fuse and the fast fuse. It might not sound like it but each fuse takes the same amount of time to ignite. The difference between the two is that the timed fuse ignites the charge/cache of powder that launches the shell. After launch, this fuse continues to burn until it reaches the fast fuse. The length and burn time of the time-delay fuse is calculated very carefully to ensure that the shell is at the appropriate altitude for full ignition. When the fast fuse is lit, it ignites the metal compounds and sets the burst into the sky.

It might seem simple enough but, to add to the effects and complexity, multiple chambers of gun/black powder will be built into the shell. These chambers go off at different times creating the many effects of light, color, or sound. Additionally, the explosive shells/stars can be strategically placed inside the tube in a desired shape (say a flower) to then explode in the sky in that same shape (a flower).

Extra Information

Now, if all that sparked (see what I did there?) more curiosity in you, I’ve linked some great articles below for you to check out:

Keep in mind on this last one: your typical 20-minute show, set to music, can cost upwards of $40,000. Also, they’ll often put this show on twice in one day!

Must Watch Before You Go

It is April, 1949, in West Berlin. Western Allied soldiers walk the streets, there are military checkpoints to get in or out of the city, and the Berlin Airlift is at its peak. Every 45 seconds, the roar of a U.S. Air Force Douglas C-54 Skymaster is heard flying over apartments. Food, coal, diesel, and petrol is being delivered to the city by U.S. and U.K. pilots. The 2.5 million residents of West Berlin will survive another day.

The Blockade Begins

Following World War II, Germany was split between the Allied powers. Berlin was in the Soviet occupation zone, but the city itself was split into Soviet controlled East Berlin and Western Allied controlled West Berlin. On June 24, 1948, Soviet forces blockaded rail, road, and water access to Allied-controlled areas of Berlin. The supply chain for food and coal for electricity was cut off. It was estimated that West Berlin had food to last 36 days and only 45 days worth of coal. Something had to be done fast if the Allies wanted to sustain the population.

The Berlin Airlift

U.S. General Lucius D. Clay suggested an Allied airlift operation to supply West Berliners. And just two days later, on June 26, 1948, the United States launched “Operation Vittles.” The United Kingdom joined the effort with “Operation Plainfare” on June 28th. This was the beginning of The Berlin Airlift.

Incredible Facts About The Berlin Airlift:

  • In the beginning, the goal was to bring in 3,475 tons of supplies every day. However, it took time to ramp up to that goal. In the first week of the airlift, 90 tons of supplies were delivered every day. By the second week, 1,000 tons were delivered daily. By the spring of 1949, that original goal was smashed because 12,941 tons of supplies were being delivered daily.
  • To save time, many flights didn’t even land. They would air drop supplies into the airfields using parachutes.
  • The flights that landed flew out of West Berlin with manufactured goods.
  • American C-47 and C-54 aircraft flew over 92,000,000 miles. That’s only a million miles short of the average distance to the sun!
  • Operation Little Vittles: On July 17, 1948, U.S. pilot Lieutenant Gail “The Candy Bomber” Halvorsen flew to Tempelhof Airport on his day off. He offered his only two sticks of Wrigley’s Doublemint Gum to a crowd of children at the end of the runway. He promised that when he returned, he would bring more. When asked how the children would know it was him, he replied, “I’ll wiggle my wings.” The next day when flying into Tempelhof, he rocked his wings and dropped chocolate bars attached to handkerchief parachutes to the children waiting below. Soon after, mail arrived at the base addressed to “Uncle Wiggly Wings,” “The Chocolate Uncle,” and “The Chocolate Flier.” Maj. Gen. William H Tunner, who was in command of the airlift, expanded the effort into “Operation Little Vittles.” Other pilots started dropping candy, children in the U.S. sent candy to help, and major candy manufacturers joined in, too. German children called the aircraft “raisin bombers” or “candy bombers.” Over 23 tons of candy were dropped using more than 250,000 parachutes.
  • Throughout the operation, a total of 2,334,374 tons of supplies were delivered to West Berlin. The U.S. Air Force delivered 1,783,573 tons and the RAF delivered 541,937 tons.

On May 12, 1949, the blockade was lifted. Supply convoys were allowed to resume on the ground through the Soviet controlled sector. The airlift continued until September 30, 1949, out of fear that the blockade could be reinstated. The Berlin Airlift successfully sustained West Berlin for 15 straight months.

The Cost

The operation was a success, but everything has a cost. Over the course of the operation, 17 American and 8 British aircraft crashed. Sadly, there were 101 fatalities associated with The Berlin Airlift, mostly due to non-flying accidents. That included 31 Americans and 40 Britons who lost their lives to help save West Berlin.

What Can We Learn?

Supply chains can be shaken by events out of our control. The Soviet blockade in 1948 stopped the supply chain of food and supplies into West Berlin. A global pandemic and some bad driving in the Suez Canal caused the global supply chain to faulter, and for a couple weeks we didn’t even have toilet paper on shelves at the store.

Fortunately, humans and industry take on challenges and find solutions. In the aftermath of COVID-19, companies around the world are re-building their supply chains to be more resilient. Many U.S. companies are bringing their critical manufacturing infrastructure closer to home. There is a growing need for skilled trades people in all industries.

At FlexTrades, we do our best to live up to amazing examples of urgent problem solving, like the Western Allies throughout The Berlin Airlift. We work with companies across the country to solve their manufacturing headaches and employ hundreds of the most skilled and professional trades people in every discipline. Check out to learn more about what we can do for your company or for your career.

There were too many amazing stories, characters, and facts to include in one blog. Read more about the Berlin Airlift in these websites I used while researching this topic:

When faced with a backlog or high demand, manufacturers across the United States utilize FlexTrades’ skilled technicians for any and all of their production operations, but it doesn’t stop there. FlexTrades also employs highly-skilled engineers who help our customers meet a wide variety of goals. In fact, project-based engineering is not a trend. It’s becoming increasingly more common in manufacturing.

Here’s Why You Should Consider FlexTrades’ Engineers: 

  • Utilizing project-based engineers allows manufacturers to stay agile.
  • Many companies are running leaner than they were due to recent events, the current market and economy. Additionally, top talent (in this case – engineers) in this candidate-driven market are looking for more meaning in their work and also more flexibility.
  • By enlisting the help of project-based engineers, and working with FlexTrades to do so, the skills and experience of the engineer can be tailored to fit a manufacturer’s needs right now rather than hiring a full-time employee with a more generalized set of skills.
  • Project-based engineers allow full-time engineers to stay focused on long-term goals and objectives.
  • Utilizing project-based engineers is a great option when trying to align with the up-and-down lifecycle of engineering in a manufacturing facility.
  • Project-based engineers provide a fresh perspective by coming in with a different background than full-time engineers.

Are you a manufacturer who needs to update your work instructions, blueprints, and SOPs?

Maybe you’re experiencing a downturn in the quality of your products, and you need someone to analyze the cause, determine a solution, then implement?

Perhaps you need to reverse engineer older products so you can create updated prints?

Or maybe you’re looking to design and produce new products and needing someone to determine the feasibility of production.

Contact FlexTrades – we can help!

And, if you’re not a manufacturer but you’re an engineer who would like to travel, learn new things, and bring your expertise to manufacturers who really need it, contact a FlexTrades recruiter today to learn more.  

The year is almost halfway done, but there is still time to take advantage of the knowledge, technology, and value that manufacturing trade shows and expos bring to US manufacturing for both employers and employees.

The Shows You Missed:

The Shows You Can Still Attend:


Design-2-Part has many shows throughout the year (in spring and fall) and across the US, so find one near you! The greatest thing about Design-2-Part is the story behind Founder, Ben Edwards and how he began Design-2-Part shows.

Safety Conference & Expo

Start planning now because this one is happening in Denver, CO August 7-9th in 2024. In fact, 2024 will be the 63rd annual show! Put on by the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the goal of this show is to bring together safety professionals for three days of educational sessions. There also are educational exhibits regarding the safety profession as well as safety innovation in the workplace. It’s called “the conference that’s by safety professionals, for safety professionals”.

Advanced Manufacturing Expo

Happening August 9 and 10, 2023, in Grand Rapids, MI, you could join 3000 manufacturers and manufacturing experts to explore all things automation, metalworking, or mechanical. If there is one to go to in 2023, this might be it!


PACK Expo is a show with multiple events across the United States (as well as the world). At these shows, it’s all about packaging and processing solutions. Join Pack Expo Las Vegas from September 11th through the 13th this year!


This one is all about metal forming, fabricating, welding, and finishing. It runs from September 11th through the 14th in Chicago, IL.

Injection Mold & Design Expo

During this two-day FREE expo, you’ll find a multitude of suppliers with expertise in molding machines and auxiliary equipment, equipment parts, molds and runners, design & molding software, and many other support services. Get to Novi, MI to experience this event on September 20 and 21 of 2023.

Industrial Transformation USA

Coming to Indianapolis during the fall of 2023 (October 10-12), are the big thinkers thinking about IIoT, 5G, cobots, and other Industry 4.0 technology as it relates to all types of manufacturing industries. You’ll find a little bit of everything related to automation, robotics, industrial data, AI, supply chain software, IIoT, as well as smart infrastructure.

NBAA – BACE (National Business Aviation Association)

From October 17-19, top manufacturers and businesses from the aviation industry will come together in Las Vegas to showcase the best of the best in aviation technology and aircraft.

Southtec / Westtec

Southtec is one of four Manufacturing Technology Series events and it’s happening in Greenville, SC from October 24-26th. Westec is another one of the four series events only it’s happening in Long Beach, CA from November 7-9, 2023. Houstex and Eastec have already come and gone in 2023 but don’t worry, all four will be back in full for 2024 because this one is backed by some of the biggest industry advocates, The Association for Manufacturing Technology (AMT) and

Rockwell Automation Fair

In Boston MA this year, you’ll find the future of manufacturing technology with this automation fair happening November 6th through the 9th.

2024 Trade Shows and Expos:

Precision Machining Technology Show (PMTS)

We just missed this one for 2023 (it was April 18-20th) but they are already planning for 2025 (in Cleveland, OH) and so should you. This is the place to be when it comes to precision machining and precision machined components.

Skills USA National Leadership & Skills Conference

Skills USA is a great event with a different goal than most manufacturing expos. This one is about bringing together workers, leaders, students, and teachers to promote careers in trade and technical occupations. This one wrapped up June 23rd of this year, but they’ll be back again next year!


With over 1 million square feet of exhibit space, this expo is the largest plastics tradeshow in America. Make it a point to register in 2023 for the five-day event happening in Orlando, FL from May 6-10, 2024.


The Modex Show is happening March 11-14 in Atlanta GA next year (2024). Promat is show similar to Modex that has come and gone for 2023. However, both are shows put on by MHI (The Material Handling Industry) with the goal of connecting professionals in the supply chain industry.

That’s a Wrap:

Find one you like and give it a whirl. You’ll likely meet great industry contacts, be able to talk about yourself and your products, as well as learn a little (or a lot) something new!

Juneteenth (formally known as African American Freedom Day or Emancipation Day) is in representation of June 19th, 1865. This date marks the time when the enslaved African Americans in Confederate States were told they were no longer under the law and concept of being enslaved… two years AFTER the Emancipation Proclamation.  Although January 1, 1863, is when the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, it was not yet implemented everywhere. The concept of enslaving humans was still protected under Confederate control in ten states.   However, on June 19, 1865, many Union troops made it to Galveston Bay, Texas. There they officially pronounced that over 250,000 enslaved African Americans in the state were no longer enslaved under this law.

Juneteenth has now become a well-known federal holiday and is to be celebrated all throughout the United States. June 19, 2023 is a historic date. What a time to be alive and see what is known as our second Independence Day! This day marks not only what is known as Freedom, but also union, hope, and another milestone for our country. This is a time to grow, build with other communities, and share our experiences and truths.

Born in the 80s and growing up in the 90s, I always knew I was considered a black girl. But I never acknowledged what that meant in America. I grew up in a predominantly Latino neighborhood where many of my classmates and friends did not have my hair texture, complexion, or home structure. They also had their own language, which their parents spoke, but my Puerto Rican friends and classmates spoke both English and Spanish. Still, I mainly saw more of what we had in common. Things like our style of clothing, music, and neighborhood culture. I noticed these things more than the things that were obviously different. Especially since black excellence was not being taught in our neighborhood schools. Growing up, in my old neighborhood, we did not learn much about black excellence in school. We were mostly taught about what I’d like to call the “Big Three”, Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks and, of course, Harriet Tubman. But there were no lessons on any of the other African American history icons such as Malcolm X or Nat Turner. I did not get to learn about things like The Black Panther Party or Black Wall Street. With the busyness of work and staying on top of the lessons that were being taught, my mom never got deep into the history of our excellence either. Most of my information came from anecdotes my cousin would tell that she learned from her school. Because of this, I made sure to take Africa American Studies and Africa American History during my college years. Eventually, in my preteen years, I started to notice differences between races such as bi-racial people. I also learned about the Afro-Latin community and their culture. Essentially, I learned how amazing it was and is to be a Black woman in America! Now as an adult Black woman, or Woman of color, I have decided to further educate myself in the history of my people. I encourage you to do the same.

Take some time to learn ways to celebrate Juneteenth. Not sure how to do that? Here’s a hint, celebrate the same as you would on any other holiday- with family, friends, and food! I would also try shopping at and supporting Black Owned businesses and establishments. Help our community to rebuild, or to build, generational wealth. Give resources about financial literacy to People of Color (POC) that may need such information. Because, after all the fireworks and BBQs are gone, we still have a long way to go yet to reach our fullest potential as a group.

Here are other examples of things to do. Simply Google your city and state and find out what and where they are hosting Juneteenth festivals or events. Here’s few for consideration…

  • Chicago: Chance the Rapper’s Juneteenth – BBQ at the DuSable museum. 
  • Atlanta: Parade & Music Festival 
  • Houston: Houston Juneteenth Unbranded Takeover 

You can always create your own annual event for you, your family, and friends too!

Google Black inventors and see all the amazing things that were created by Black Americans. Some examples to get you started:

  • Garrett Morgan: Inventor of the Three-Position Traffic Signal and the Gas Mask; saved countless lives.
  • Jesse Russell: Pioneer in the field of cellular and wireless communications.

And my personal favorite…

  • George Crum: Inventor (unintentionally) created the potato chip during the summer of 1853.

Final words: Find something local in your city or state and make this your annual celebration!

Celebrate responsibility!

Peace and many Blessings! Enjoy!

Happy JUNETEENTH, from my family to yours!

FlexTrades is all about manufacturing, and this industry is all about making things. However, we try to remember the people doing the making, and all the things that are important to them. Our families, careers, and histories deserve recognition beyond what we do when we’re “on the clock.” In that light, this article will gladly answer a question that we are hearing more and more often…

What is Juneteenth?

We’re thrilled to see awareness around this holiday grow every single year, and we’re very happy to answer the question above.

Juneteenth is observed annually on June 19th and has been since 1865. It began in Galveston, Texas, following the Civil War, as African American Emancipation Day. In the 156 years since, the celebration has grown and spread beyond the United States and, sometimes, beyond the date. Today, Juneteenth is a day, a week, and in some areas even a month that commemorates African American freedom and emphasizes education and achievement.


Juneteenth originated  when Major General Gordon Granger landed with his regiment and brought news to Texas of Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation and General Robert E. Lee’s April 1865 surrender. This announcement “officially” freed the enslaved population of Texas with Granger’s General Order Number 3.

“The people of Texas are informed that, in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Why Is Juneteenth Important Today?

Juneteenth today celebrates African American freedom and achievement, while encouraging continuous self-development and respect for all cultures. But, as historian Henry Gates Jr says, today the day is “not only an opportunity to celebrate, but to speak out.”

As the holiday grows in a national — and even global — perspective, Juneteenth is becoming an increasingly symbolic event to not only recognize the achievements of the past but to also advocate for societal improvements in the future. In essence, we’re all collectively remembering where we came from while recommitting to what we want our future to be. How can you not celebrate that?

How Can I Celebrate?

In the Workplace:

Recognizing Juneteenth in the workplace doesn’t just support corporate diversity; it shows a true commitment to creating a diverse workforce and recognition of an increasingly diverse society. There are many ways this can be done, but bringing in a guest speaker is a great one.

In the Community:

If your community doesn’t already have a Juneteenth committee, forming one is a great first step. However, if it does, participating in events is all you really need to do. Whether attending a block party, hosting guest speakers, or watching a parade; the aim of the day is to remember, celebrate, encourage, and support freedom, unity, and improvement among all of us. There isn’t a wrong way to participate in that!

In the Home:

Plan a special meal and gather the family together to acknowledge Juneteenth. Decorate your table and/or door with a Juneteenth theme and discuss what the celebration of the day means. Emphasize the mandates of responsibility and striving to be the best you can be. Make specific pledges for the remainder of the year, ask for support in accomplishing your goals, and commit to supporting the goals of another.

Additional Resources

We hope this FAQ didn’t just answer your question but inspires you to more actively engage with Juneteenth this year. If you still have questions, there’s a lot more to learn about the holiday. You can always get other answers from us too. Just send your questions to our Writing Team and keep an eye out for future FAQ’s. We can’t wait to share our next answer with you!

This brief, semi-viral clip, stitched together by several thousand satirically minded TikTokers, is one that has stuck with me for several reasons. First and foremost being that this particular TikTok creator is entirely correct. We do need Electricians, and plumbers and, really, when you look at labor statistics, skilled tradespeople across the board.

An Entire Generation Lost in Too Much Information

As a millennial, I come from a demographic of approximately seventy-one million individuals who were told that anything less than a four-year college degree meant that you would not succeed in life. At no point during my public-school education was the possibility of trade school even suggested to me. In large part, I believe that was due to my inability to operate the simplest of power tools without subsequently requiring a trip to Urgent Care. That being said, my peers were equally neglected when it came to exploring alternative educational options.

This ideology was further reinforced once I entered the workforce and found that most jobs willing to provide a livable wage required a bachelor’s degree. I soon learned that it didn’t really matter what degree I held. My education was treated more as a box to be checked by a hiring manager.

The result of such an emphatic push for the youth of America to go the college route has left a dwindling population of skilled laborers. This population grows smaller every day as more and more workers age into retirement without a fresh supply to replenish their ranks.

While Alex on TikTok may have made his plea in jest, the resultant push towards collegiate life and the overall classist opinion of blue-collar work has led to a very real and increasingly serious problem. “We need electricians.”

Is the work going to be more physically strenuous in a skilled trade than a traditional 9-5 office job? Absolutely. But many would argue that, if you’re able, the rewards far outstrip the negatives. What rewards are those, you ask? First and foremost, in these uncertain economic times… job security.

With news of layoffs in all sectors coming through every day and all over the country, job security may seem unrealistic to hope for. However, given the shortage in workers, combined with the fact that it’s so hands on, a welder isn’t exactly the type of position that can be exported overseas. They need that welder in the shop and ready to work onsite, and many companies are willing to pay a premium to get those workers in as soon as possible.

Show Me the Money

The bottom line when many graduating high schoolers are assessing their options is going to be pay. It is the minority of youths in America who know for certain what they want to do with their life, and even fewer still who work in the field they went to school for. When money plays such a huge factor in the decision-making process, it is impossible to deny the benefits of trade school.

College tuition has skyrocketed faster than the overall inflation rate to round out prices that make even the most financially secure cringe in agony.

Given that most trade school programs are two years versus four, that’s already half the cost in time and money. Even further though, trade schools are cheaper per year than a traditional university, further cutting those financial hardships. Student loan debt, anyone?

The Education Data Initiative estimates that the average college student builds up over $30k in debt whether they graduate or not. Keeping that in mind, the average cost to obtain a degree from most trade schools is $33,000 with the average cost for a bachelor’s degree pricing in at roughly $132,000.

Already, we’re looking at a $100,000 incentive to go into a trade rather than pursue a more “traditional” role in corporate America. Assuming you chose a life as a machinist over life at a desk, who would your competition be?

Roughly 66% of high school graduates go straight from K-12 into an undergraduate program of some sort. Of those students, 46% report that they work in the field they went to school for. Leaving a staggering 54% – myself included – to check HR’s box for higher education by achieving a diploma, but really what we have is a very expensive mousepad.

Looking at the numbers, half of your peers are vying for white collar jobs. But what about the blue-collar positions? Despite the lucrative benefits highlighted in this article, a mere 16% of surveyed high school graduates enrolled in a vocational or trade school.

The long and short of it is this… if you’re looking to work in an ever-growing field, use your hands and never having to type ‘per my last e-mail,’ I would highly encourage a look at the world of skilled labor.

Afterall, you may really like what you find!