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42 Navy | Fall/Winter 2017 MILITARY TRANSITIONS S eptember 15, 2017 was the third annual National Tradesmen Day. Never heard of it? Well, most people haven't. Although originally created by a tool company to sell tools, this holiday now serves to shine a light on our nation's tradesmen and the vital role they play in the lives of every American. Historically, tradesmen became valued profes- sionals with the rise of cities and towns. en, as now, skilled trade workers ensure that every building's founda- tion provides a sturdy base, every light shines brightly, and clean water flows through the pipes in our homes, schools, and busi- nesses. In the past, these trades were handed down gener- ation to generation, with children learning from their parents or a trusted member of the community. ese apprenticeships then turned into subjects offered in school shop classes, which were filled with young people excited to use their hands to create something. Over the past forty years, America has seen a decline in its population of skilled trade workers. Family businesses are closing their doors because young adults either do not have the training to keep them going, or see their family business as a part of a market that could be on its way out. Parents who have worked hard all their lives and want to see their children do better, to have better, oen believe four-year colleges are the only way to make "better" happen. High school shop classes, once a staple, are nothing more than a distant memory, the victim of funding cuts and state education curriculum changes. While curricula and family businesses have changed, some of our most basic needs have not. As long as we have indoor plumbing, pipes are bound to burst. e more we drive on our nation's roads and bridges, the more we will need skilled tradesmen to ensure they are in working order, along with mechanics to ensure our automobiles will run. As Houston and the surrounding areas recover from the devastation of recent hurricanes skilled workers will play an instru- mental role in rebuilding lives. And if HGTV is any indication, we are never going to run out of a need for skilled carpenters, electri- cians, and welders. Despite our continuing need for skilled workers, there are currently more job openings than skilled tradesmen to fill them. According to the Bureau of Labor, there were 6.2 million manufacturing and construc- tion jobs open in June 2017, many of which went unfilled. is gap in the skilled tradesman workforce is a perfect opportunity for many tran- sitioning military members, Veterans, and military family members. ere are a wide variety of training and certifications available, most of which can be earned in a relatively short amount of time and at a reasonable cost. As added incentive, many skilled tradesman Be in Demand by Learning a Trade By Amanda Marksmeier Despite our continuing need for skilled workers, there are currently more job openings than skilled tradesmen to fill them.

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