'Angie's List' educating kids about trade jobs


When people talk about "hot jobs" these days, they typically think high-tech. But there's a huge demand right now for skilled trade workers. That's news for people looking for work, but the key is getting to the younger generations to make them aware of the opportunities out there.

"We're going to be needing a lot of electricians here pretty soon and I'm hoping to retire myself. I can officially retire in three years but I'm going to hang on a little longer," said Bill Ellison, who has been running his own electrical business for 30 years.

Ellison would like to turn his business over to someone else, but he says there aren't many options.

"I don't know why the kids don't do it. I try. I talk to them. I've been to a lot of high schools educating them. They just don't seem interested," Ellison added.

According to a recent study by ManpowerGroup, electricians, mechanics, butchers, bakers and chefs top the list of "Hardest Jobs to Fill" in the United States for the fourth consecutive year.

  • Skilled trade workers
  • Drivers
  • Teachers
  • Sales representatives
  • Administrative professionals
  • Management/executives
  • Nurses
  • Technicians
  • Accounting and finance staff
  • Engineers
    (ManpowerGroup 2015 Talent Shortage Survey)

  • "Young people aren't going into the trades like they used to, and this becomes a problem for homeowners because it becomes more difficult for them to find people to do work around their home and maintenance work," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List.

    Angie's List has been working closely with the service industry for 20 years and it's trying to educate youth about the many skilled trades opportunities available to them. A recent career fair in Indianapolis brought together experienced contractors and middle school students where kids were taught what skills were required for different jobs and even what wages to expect.

    "A journeyman electrician like I'm at can make $65,000 a year. That's not too bad. And if you pay attention and put your nose to the grind, you can start your own business and hopefully make more than that," said Ellison.

    Hicks says there are many lucrative careers in the trades and that her company is seeing no slowdown in the demand for services. She's hoping her blue collar career fair will catch on in schools around Indiana and eventually across the country.

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