The Blue-Collar Option
All of your teenager’s friends are going to college. Harvard, Howard, a couple to the state U., small private colleges. They’re going to become doctors and teachers, programmers and biologists. But your child has decided that college isn’t the right choice. She always loved welding. He wants to work construction.
Is that so bad? No, says author Joe Lamacchia. In his new book with Bridget Samburg, Blue Collar & Proud of It: The All-in-One-Resource for Finding Freedom, Financial Success, and Security Outside the Cubicle, he explains why we need blue-collar workers and he shows how to take advantage of the rosy future for blue-collar jobs.
Six years ago, tired of seeing so many unhappy kids pushed into college, Lamacchia started his Web site, BlueCollarAndProudOfIt.com. He knows how it is for some kids; his family expected him to go to college, but he knew he wouldn’t have been happy and probably wouldn’t have graduated.
Much of what we need for our modern life was built with the sweat of blue-collar workers. Fabricators, electricians, plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, steelworkers and welders are all essential in our world. “Why don’t we take these tradespeople more seriously?” Lamacchia asks. In the not-so-distant future, he says, there will be a serious shortage of trained individuals to do these jobs. Canada alone may be faced with an estimated 1 million unfilled blue-collar positions within a generation. Lamacchia blames this lack on the belief that college is the only door to a good, high-paying job.
So what can be done? First, we should understand that college is not a good fit for everybody. Parents shouldn’t ask what college is best for their son or daughter, but what job fits best and will make them happy. High-school guidance counselors should be reminded of this, too.
If you’re looking for a job that doesn’t involve sitting behind a desk, know your options. Ask to shadow someone in an industry you think you might like. Check out tech schools and apprentice programs. Join a union and get free training. Stop feeling like you should push yourself to get a Ph.D. And keep in mind that you’re never “too old” to start, and that women are very welcome in these trades.
In an economy where joblessness hovers between “too high” and “oh, no,” it’s nice to read about industries in desperate need of hard workers who want to make a decent living (sometimes more than a doctor, when you factor in school loans). And if you want proof of a good income, there’s Joe Lamacchia, author and owner of a million-dollar landscaping business. In Blue Collar & Proud of It, he offers support for the undecided, sound reasoning for parents and a huge list of schools and programs for anyone who’s considering a blue-collar job or employment in the new “Green-collar” sector. If your new grad is not college bound and you’re not sure what’s next, or if you’re ready for a change of pace yourself, this is a great book to read. Blue Collar & Proud of It may put your household back in the black.