Mike Rowe was breathing a sigh of relief at this surprising shift underway with Gen Z

Apr 22, 2024

Mike Rowe is championing the value and dignity of work in the skilled trades.

The fruits of his hard work are beginning to pay off.

And Mike Rowe was breathing a sigh of relief at this surprising shift underway with Gen Z.

The rising costs and questionable value of education provided by colleges and universities are causing Generation Z to rethink their career paths.

For decades, college was sold as a golden ticket for a better life, but for many students this no longer holds true.

Yearly tuition at some private colleges is now more than $90,000, and education has been replaced with woke indoctrination in the classroom.

Dirty Jobs host Mike Rowe has been working to encourage young people to enter the skilled trades that keep modern life functioning as an alternative to college.

Now there’s evidence that more younger Americans are willing to go into blue-collar work.

Generation Z embracing skilled trades as a career path

As the baby boomers begin to retire, the country is facing massive shortages across the board in the skilled trades.

For years, younger Americans didn’t consider going down this career path.

However, enrollment at trade and vocational schools is climbing among members of Generation Z who are looking for an affordable alternative to college.

Robb Sommerfeld co-founded the National Center for Craftsmanship in order to offer vocational training at high schools.

“We’re finally seeing a more than subtle change within our society,” Sommerfeld told Axios. “More and more students and their parents see alternatives.”

The National Student Clearinghouse found that enrollment at vocational schools climbed 16% last year.

While Millennials were more inclined to go to college, that attitude is changing with Gen Z.

A New America poll found that 54% of Gen Z believes a high school diploma is enough to get a good-paying job.

According to a Gallup survey, 46% of parents prefer their children take an alternative path to a traditional four-year college.

Work left to be done to rebuild the skilled trade workforce

Even with enrollment climbing in training for the trades, the country is still facing a major shortage of skilled workers.

More electricians and welders are retiring than there are new workers entering those professions.

The construction industry faces a shortage of nearly half a million workers.

With the rise of artificial intelligence (AI), some trades are selling their careers as future-proof.

Superior Construction CEO Nick Largura told Axios that his company is gaining more Gen Z workers.

“That is the pivotal moment when people are really trying to figure out what they want to do, and if you can show them a promising future in that time, you can really make a difference,” Largura said.

He’s selling Gen Z workers on construction in part by noting how it’s a field that won’t be replaced by AI.

Producing new workers in skilled trades to fill the gap by retiring baby boomers will be crucial to keeping the country functioning.

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