The love of skilled trades is alive and well in Ohio. Although Ohio is as concerned about the skilled trades gap, which is the number of skilled trades positions open versus the number of qualified and willing employees available to fill those positions, as much as any other state, Ohio continues to lead the charge in recruiting and inspiring youth to pursue the skilled trades.

Even Forbes acknowledged Ohio’s contribution in the fight to resurrect the love and pull of the skilled trades for youth, noting in an August 2019 article that U.S. Congressional Representative Anthony Gonzalez (R-OH), among others, introduced H.R. 3497, the Jumpstart Our Businesses By Supporting Students (JOBS) Act. As Forbes succinctly said, “This bill expands federal educational grant eligibility to technical school training, incentivizing students to pursue opportunities other than the traditional four-year degree.”

Another feather in Ohio’s skilled trades cap is the fact that National Skilled Trades Day was birthed here. City Machines Technolgies, Inc. (CMT) is a family-owned and operated industrial repair shop in Youngstown, Ohio. CMT, like many Ohio businesses, wants to be a part of changing the culture. They want to spread awareness on what the skilled trades are and how to pursue them, so they founded National Skilled Trades Day. This day was added to the Registrar National Day Calendar in 2019 and is celebrated on the first Wednesday of May. The second annual National Skilled Trades Day occurs on May 6, 2020.

If you’re reading this and wondering how you can be a part of National Skilled Trades Day, you’re in luck. suggests the following, word-for-word:

For Schools

  • Get the word out about the need for skilled trades workers and the benefits of learning a trade. Skilled trades are the college alternative.
  • Encourage community support for students and parents who are considering going into skilled trades fields. Let them know the value of the benefits and instill a sense of pride for those who chose to lead lives in a skilled trades field. It’s a noble career path with benefits equal to a traditional four-year degree.
  • Career and technical centers can host open houses and/or career and job fairs.
  • Introduce the trades early. Elementary schools can have a “Dress Up as Your Favorite Skilled Trades Worker” Day.
  • Find room in the school budget for shop class.
  • Schedule a field trip to a construction site or small business.
  • Create classroom projects geared toward skilled trades.

For Businesses

  • Get the word out about the need for skilled trades workers and the benefits of learning a trade. Contact local radio and television stations and newspapers. The community needs to hear you are looking for skilled trades workers.
  • Host an open house at your place of employment.
  • Have breakfast or lunch catered for your employees.
  • Highlight your employees on social media: Why did they pick a career in the skilled trades? What life lessons have they learned in their years working in skilled trades?

For those in the Skilled Trades

  • Share your trade with someone you know.
  • Post about the day on social media.
  • Volunteer to speak at a career fair.

For Communities

  • If you see someone in a uniform, be sure to thank them.
  • If you own a store or restaurant, consider giving a discount to those who visit in uniform on National Skilled Trades Day.
  • Teach your children and grandchildren that skilled trades are the college alternative. Not everyone needs to go to college. Many technical schools provide the science, math and technology training required for any skills required.

Although there are more examples of Ohio businesses and leaders championing the skilled trades, these two, Anthony Gonzalez and City Machine Technologies, Inc, represent Ohio’s efforts at both a government and grassroots level. These two are a glimpse of Ohio’s truth, which is that Ohio refuses to allow the demise and disenchantment of the skilled trades to continue. 

Most Ohioans don’t need another reason to be proud of the buckeye state, but I’m going to go ahead and throw another reason on the pile anyway: Ohio is proud to support the skilled trades and isn’t afraid to fight for its survival and growth.

Author: Evelyn Lindell