Mike Rowe predicts skilled workers will be in ‘demand like never before’ in post-coronavirus era…’If you are a welder with a work ethic, you will be among the dozens of people making six figures’

The above is the title of a blog piece published in July 2020. Most know Mike Rowe as the host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs and the fearless champion of the skilled trades and manufacturing, lifting these two career fields up and protecting them with his every breath. Given all this, it’s no surprise that he is weighing-in on the coronavirus’ far-reaching tentacles and how they’ll affect the two career fields that have long captured his heart, mind, soul, and efforts.

COVID-19 Clarifies the Essential: Skilled Trades & Manufacturing

As I thought about Mike Rowe’s comments in the above-mentioned piece and about skilled trades and manufacturing, one overarching thought set up camp in my mind: The coronavirus forced people to acknowledge the essential workers of the world and those were deemed, without a shadow of a doubt, to be the people who keep our homes and health safe.

Plumbers are essential.

Welders are essential.

Manufacturers of food and toiletry products are essential.

The list of who is so essential that they are called to continue their work during a global pandemic, like superheroes protecting their communities, includes a multitude of the jobs that fall under the skilled trades and manufacturing umbrella. Not only should that make those already in these career fields tremendously proud, but it should also attract people who aren’t in these fields to give them a closer look.

Take Pride in Your Work & Recognize Your Value

Imagine: It’s 2 AM and your toilet broke. There is human waste of every vomit-inducing color rolling down every grout line on the floor and the stench is so intense and so tangible that you’re afraid to open your eyes or mouth. You have one bathroom in the house and in a couple of hours, your three children and spouse will all need the bathroom, specifically the toilet. You have no savings and no money in your pocket and you live paycheck-to-paycheck and yet, without hesitation, you grab your phone and call a plumber during their after-work-hours and immediately accept the bill that implies. Your family needs a restroom and your house can’t smell like a sewer, so you must call a plumber. Moral of the story: Plumbing issues can’t wait and because of that, plumbers are paid extremely well for their indispensable expertise.

I could give a story of those who fix radiation machines for cancer patients. I could tell you about the importance of food being on the grocery store shelves. I could discuss the importance of traffic lights working and the panic that would’ve happened if those who work on power lines, including the internet, didn’t go to work during the pandemic. I could list essential occupations for the length of this piece and over and over again, you’d see a skilled trade or manufacturing position on the list.

The point is that the skilled trades and manufacturing are occupations to be incredibly proud of and that our world needs to survive. In fact, nothing made this more clear than the coronavirus shutdown. There is a skilled trades gap, the number of skilled trades positions versus the number of qualified people who are available to fill them, and although more and more champions of skilled trades and manufacturing are popping up within school systems and communities, the discussion needs to continue.

To those in the skilled trades and manufacturing arenas, know that you are valued. When the world went into lockdown, so many of you were the ones the world could not live without… you were the ones that everyone else counted on to survive the pandemic. And to those thinking about the skilled trades and manufacturing arenas, talk to your local vocational schools, reach out to guidance and career counselors, talk to people already in those fields, and do everything you can to truly consider a choice that may very well be one of the best choices you make in your entire life, both from a fulfillment and financial perspective.

Author: Evelyn Lindell