5 Reasons why Wisconsin Trade Schools and High Schools Should Partner with PFMA
As the labor shortage continues to develop, there’s a parallel issue plaguing high schools and young students: lack of viable career path. With thousands of high schoolers choosing not to pursue a traditional college experience, they may not know how to find their way to a viable, rewarding, growth-focused career.
5 REASONS WHY WISCONSIN TRADE SCHOOLS AND HIGH SCHOOLS SHOULD PARTNER WITH PFMA
As the labor shortage continues to develop, there’s a parallel issue plaguing high schools and young students: lack of viable career path. With thousands of high schoolers choosing not to pursue a traditional college experience, they may not know how to find their way to a viable, rewarding, growth-focused career. Counselors, teachers, and school administrators can use PFMA as a resource to encourage young talent to find their path in the trades.
1. INTRODUCE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO COLLEGE ALTERNATIVES
Better outreach to high schoolers can help provide meaningful direction to those students who do not otherwise have a plan after graduation but are afraid of stagnating if they take time off of school.
The Plant and Facilities Maintenance Association (PFMA) connects in-plant, academic, and vendor members to advance the field of plant engineering and facility maintenance. PFMA members benefit from networking with like-minded professions, sharing access to current information on industry trends, and participating in professional development and sales productivity.
The benefits of this kind of networking association need not be limited, however, to workers currently practicing their fields. Partnering with a resource like PFMA can help address labor shortages by providing resources, mentorships or education opportunities to young people who are interested in an alternative career path. Organizations like PFMA can help close that gap for employers and future workers alike.
2. RETAIN SKILLED LABORERS IN WISCONSIN
The need exists for a better means of connecting skilled high schoolers and trade school students with Wisconsin businesses feeling the pain of skilled labor shortages. Establishing a direct pipeline from would-be laborers to the workforce is especially critical during times of low employment.
In blue collar industries in particular, it is important to tap into sources of potential workers early on so the ideas are planted and growing as the future worker develops as a person and considers their future. Whether a student stays in-state for college or goes elsewhere, the odds of redirecting an individual into a trade skills career after they have completed any amount of schooling at a four-year university is practically negligible.
By reaching out to high schoolers and trade school students, however, industry professionals can begin directing eager young minds to consider good paying local jobs even before they begin weighing their post-graduate options.
3. EXPOSE TRADE STUDENTS TO CAREER DIVERSIFICATION
By connecting PFMA members with trade labor-inclined students, students would have the opportunity to learn about different positions and career paths within plants and maintenance facilities than they might otherwise be made aware. A child who, for example, is inclined to follow in her father’s footsteps as a diesel mechanic and is also interested in education might find the right career fit after hearing from PFMA members directly involved in mechanical education or training.
Likewise, students who demonstrate a natural aptitude for leadership would undoubtedly be interested in learning about plant or facilities maintenance supervision or jobs available to accredited craftspersons from in-plant PFMA members. Those with the gift of gab and a desire for higher earning potential, on the other hand, would benefit from learning from members involved in sales, services, and consulting in relation to plant or facilities maintenance functions.
With opportunities beyond the scope of its members, the PFMA is perhaps the best networking resource in the state. Its annual Expo, for example, is one of the largest of its kind and would provide students with unparalleled access to learn from a wide range of industry experts.
4. FACILITATE SHAPING OR CREATING PROGRAMS TO GET STUDENTS CAREER-READY
Work-based learning and hands-on experience is the long-tested foundational means of bridging a student’s educational career and the post-graduate real world of work. Traditional education models are poorly suited to prepare high school students for gainful employment, and counselors continue to push traditional high school education on students that would be ready to enter the workforce upon graduation. A partnership with the PFMA, however, would better address the skills gap between untrained high schoolers and unfilled trade jobs by creating hands-on skills training programs or elective courses and recruiting directly for student intern- and externships.
5. PROMOTE EARLY REBRANDING OF THE 21ST CENTURY BLUE COLLAR LIFESTYLE
Parents across the country and throughout time want the best for their offspring and work hard to ensure their children will have more than they did—more potential, more opportunities, and particularly more earning power. This idea of wanting ‘better’ for their kids than they had, however, no longer means more education. The concept of working smarter and not harder is not the same pathway to the American dream that it was for their generation.
To that end, investment is necessary to change the perception of trade work from the top with the idea being that if parents understand the connotation of a two-year degree and the career options it enables are not what they used to be, parents will be less inclined to deter their own kids from pursuing blue collar careers.