Thinking about a new career? Looking for work that you can not only be proud of and fulfilled by, but a career that is built on real, lasting skills that is secure and can’t be outsourced or automated? Look no further than a career in the building trades!
We spend nearly 30 percent of our lives working, yet over 50% of U.S. workers aren’t satisfied with their jobs. When you spend so much of your precious time and life at work, finding a career that’s fulfilling and rewarding should be of the utmost importance.
Is construction work dangerous? We’re not going to sugar-coat it: working on a construction site is inherently high-risk. Heights, heavy machinery, noise, strenuous physical requirements, and environmental hazards all pose risks to health and safety that aren’t present in many other jobs.
Have you ever heard the expression “You can’t have your cake and eat it too?” We’re guessing you have, but if you haven’t, it essentially means that you can’t have more than is reasonable, or that you can’t have the best of two worlds. When it comes to most things in life, there are clear tradeoffs, and career paths are perceived the same way: work longer hours, get a higher salary; pay a ton for a college degree, earn more money later; do the grunt work, hope you’ll get a chance to climb up the ladder later.
April 18 was National Lineman Appreciation Day and this post is meant to shower our nation’s lineworkers with a whole lot of love.
So just what is a line worker, anyway?
Outside Line Workers ensure that electrical power gets from power plants to our homes, offices, schools, hospitals, factories, and all other types of buildings and facilities. Linemen do a huge variety of jobs, including:
Our health is indeed our greatest asset, and if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that good health isn’t guaranteed for any of us. It’s no surprise then, in a time when we’ve all been worried about what happens if the worst does happen, that quality health and wellness benefits have never been so valued.
Before the pandemic began, many people - especially the young and healthy - saw benefits differently. They often valued time and flexibility above the more traditional, tangible benefits like health insurance or retirement income, so it was no surprise that the gig economy really took off. Working your own hours and being your own boss sounds great! That is, until you realize you’re completely on your own when disaster strikes. No health insurance, no sick leave, no unemployment insurance, etc. What if you or someone in your family gets sick? What if you’re unable to work due to that illness? Not so fun after all.
But the tables are turning. When choosing a job or career path, we’re now seeing job seekers of all ages - even those in peak physical health - become more concerned with health and wellness benefits than ever before.
In the construction trades, the benefits are bountiful! Tradesmen and women have access to great health insurance, paid time off, sick leave, unemployment insurance, job security, and so much more! Not to mention the intangibles that contribute to mental health and happiness, such as high job satisfaction rates, financial security, and a sense of belonging and purpose. The trades are committed to protecting their members and helping them lead productive and healthy lives. This is yet another reason why more and more people are considering a career in the construction trades, and why you should, too!
Our health is something none of us should ever have to gamble with; don’t gamble with yours. Learn more about a rich and rewarding career in the trades, where you and your family will be well taken care of. Find out how to get started today!
When you think of the building trades, you think of men, plain and simple. But did you know that women actually have a long history in the trades and labor movement?
The earliest records go back to the 13th century in Spain, but women were likely involved in building long before then. Though historically, women often haven’t gotten the fame or the glory for much of the work they’ve done, women have proven time and time again, century after century, that work in the building trades is far from “man’s work.”
For example, did you know that we can thank a woman, Emily Warren Roebling, for the Brooklyn Bridge? Her father in-law designed the bridge, and her husband took over as the chief engineer on the job after his father passed away. That is, until he himself fell very ill and became bedridden. Dedicated to seeing the project to completion, Emily first served as a liaison, relaying information between her husband and his assistants on-site. But over time, Emily took over the majority of the project management, day-to-day supervision, and became unofficially known as the chief engineer of the project. In 1883, after 14 years of construction, 10 of them with Emily at the helm, Emily Warren Roebling was the first person to cross the bridge and is hailed as the first woman engineer.
And of course, we all know and love Rosie the Riveter of the World War II era, who made a HUGE impact on a generation of women in the workforce. Such an impact, that in less than 5 years, women rose from 27% to 37% of the workforce thanks to the government’s campaign. These women were the pioneers for women in the skilled trades, and they did much more than rivet - they served as electricians, welders, engine repair mechanics, manufacturers, and much more - and they did it well. They took great pride in their work and played an undeniable role in the war effort. Without these women’s gumption, our country, economy, and our current workforce would have suffered considerably. They helped to pave the way.
Sadly, after the war was over many women returned to their pre-war lives, and their presence in the trades waned over time. Today, women comprise only 10.3 percent of the construction workforce in the US. Women are clearly an untapped resource for the skilled trades. The benefits of having more women in the workforce are undeniable, and the skilled trades want and need more women.
Ladies, the skilled trades need you! The career opportunities are bountiful, the work is rewarding, and the sky is truly the limit in terms of opportunities. Did you know that according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median weekly income of a union construction worker substantially exceeds sixteen out of the twenty most common occupations for women? Amazing!
While it may not be widely talked about or celebrated, women have a rich history in the trades, and it’s only just beginning. We applaud the women who have forged paths for the women of today, and we invite you to #ChoosetoChallenge the notion that the building trades are best suited for men.
Want to learn more about a rewarding career in the trades? Find out how to get started.
It’s true that when you picture a construction site, you probably don’t picture a sea full of women. But just because it’s a traditionally male-dominated industry, doesn’t mean that there aren’t more and more women joining the skilled trades workforce, and for good reason!
Black History Month, also known as African-American History Month, began as a way of remembering important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. It’s celebrated all over the world, but here in the United States, Black History Month highlights the struggles and celebrates the contributions of African Americans from all walks of life.
Did you know that some of the prominent African Americans in our country were key members of the labor movement? Take A. Philip Randolph, born in 1889, who was head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, President of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, and Vice-President of the AFL-CIO's Executive Council. He represented the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters in a dispute against the Pullman Company. He was instrumental in convincing President Roosevelt to sign an executive order, in June 1941, which called for an end to discrimination in defense plant jobs. Mr. Randolph chose the labor movement because, “"(t)he labor movement traditionally has been the only haven for the dispossessed, the despised, the neglected, the downtrodden and the poor." As Vice-President of the AFL-CIO’s Executive Council, he worked tirelessly to end discrimination from within the ranks of the union.
More recently, take Madison Burnett. Mr. Burnett is Training Director at the Electrical JATC (Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee) of Southern Nevada. After graduating from Delgado College in New Orleans, Mr. Burnett applied and was accepted into the electrical apprenticeship in 1984 and thus began his journey in the trade. Following his completion of the program in 1994, Madison worked as a journeyman wireman, a foreman, an instructor, and Assistant Training Director before taking his current position as Training Director in 2004.
Mr. Burnett’s dedication to the electrical industry has afforded him the opportunity to serve on the Nevada State Apprenticeship Council, Governor’s Workforce Development Board for the State of Nevada, International Code Council, Southern Nevada Apprenticeship Programs Association and the Advisory Committee with the electrical training Alliance.
As Black History Month comes to a close, we salute the African-American men and women who have strived, suffered, achieved and won. We’re proud that many of them call the labor movement home, and we are ever grateful for their contributions.
What is it like to be a trades worker? First things first, in the construction trades, we work hard to make things that are real. When someone asks us what we do, we say, “I’m a sheet metal worker,” or “I’m an electrical worker.” We never have to say, “I’m an associate marketing coordinator reporting to the assistant vice president of sales.” We make bridges, stadiums, houses, roads, machines, things that are real, things that last.