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Over half of America’s skilled trade employees are nearing retirement age and fewer men and women are being prepared to take their place. To shed light on this issue, the Copper Development Association has released a new video that debunks myths discrediting the plumbing industry, and highlighting how the trades present a viable career for millennials and Generation Z.
Only 3 percent of surveyed 18- to 25-year-olds who have decided on a career path said they would pursue a career in a construction trade, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Yet, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations.
“It's critical to understand that going from high school into a four-year college is not the only path,” said Andy Kireta Jr., vice president of CDA. “If we force everyone down that path, we won’t have enough tradespeople to maintain a healthy, strong economy.”
As the nation faces an infrastructure crisis, maintaining a skilled generation of tradespeople is crucial.
“States, communities, local officials and even parents have to think about how they can support trade programs that create the next generation of a skilled workforce,” said Kireta. “These are well-paying, long-lasting, important jobs that are part of the fabric that makes America run.”
In addition providing online education resources, CDA regularly visits UA local unions, PHCC chapters, career and technical school programs to conduct training on proper copper installation techniques. For more information on how skilled copper piping installations contribute to America’s water infrastructure, visit www.copper.org.