Today is the third Friday of September, meaning it is National Tradesmen Day! In 2011, Irwin Trade initiated the holiday to celebrate and give thanks to the men and women in the trades industry. Here at Laux Construction, we value the dedication and hard work each of our employees puts into their projects, but especially the individuals making the project happen. Our field staff sees our work come to life every day, and are the metaphorical blood, actual sweat, and potential tears that goes into these jobs. Unfortunately, this industry is slowly losing interest due to our world advancing in technology and entertainment. Being in the trades is more than just physical work, it’s an experience that can shape and grow you mentally, physically, and emotionally!
In a recent survey, 2,000 students were asked on their high school understanding and involvement with the trades prior to graduation, and it is truly not what you may expect. 70% of students reported that their school does offer classes that align with the trades, however, only 35% of the schools promoted attending a trade school over a 2 or 4-year degree (73%). Interestingly, 51% of students have considered attending trade school, but due to the lack of conversation within school, they are left with intimidating questions about their future unanswered. Even more shocking, 93% of parents said they would gladly support their child entering trades and even help support them financially and emotionally to succeed. The places where students are finding the most information and guidance on the trades is on the internet and social media, which shows great initiative on their part! This also means companies need to start taking initiative themselves on promoting their businesses and projects online to show students and young adults that this industry is truly rewarding!
Pick a trade you like working in and strive to learn and be the best you can be. It will never seem like a ‘job’ when you love it!Greg Post, Site Superintendent (35 years in trades)
I chose to go into trades to better my skills as I’ve been around job sites since I was 8-10 years old.Shawn Mominee, Carpenter (13 years in trades)
There are also ways of growing in the trades that allow for a more gradual entrance, rather than jumping right in. Some high schools offer Career Technical Education, which is commonly known as the ‘Career Center’. While these opportunities vary, there is also the option to enter a public or private Technical College, or Trade School. In these programs, you will receive hands-on training with the specific trade you are focused on pursing. Unlike ‘normal’ college, you will get to follow a curriculum that is focused on a specific trade (should you choose that route). This allows you to truly learn the skills necessary to succeed, as well as finding the best fit for you. The programs are also typically shorter than a ‘normal’ degree and cost significantly less! There are also thousands (seriously) of scholarships available for those entering trades. Laux Superintendent, Mark Taylor, has been in the industry for over 20 years. He entered trades due to the vast amount of opportunities available, especially with the construction industry always being available no matter where you are. He advises students, “when you start off in the industry, you have a lot of opportunities. It’s up to you on how far you want to take it.”
Apprenticeships are also a way of attending school and receiving training. Many companies offer apprenticeships to graduating high school seniors to not only build the future generation of trades, but their company as well. Companies will pay for your schooling in return for your time spent working for their business. This truly is the best of both worlds, as you will be receiving hands-on learning both in the classroom and the field itself. You will be able to take what you learn in classes and immediately apply it to real-world situations, which inevitably will put you ahead of your peers. There’s also opportunities for pursuing the trades before, during, or after the military. They are always looking for people wanting to enter the trades, just as much as the construction industry! There also some extra benefits of being in trades when applying for the military, as it shows initiative on your part, as well as your decision-making skills as you’ve done the thing that is stereotypically ‘the easy route’. However, trades is not easy. Laux Superintendent, Mick Sowle, has been in trades for the last 35 years. He chose the industry because of the vast opportunity available to succeed, but recognizes that it takes significant hustle to grow in your trade.
Laux is proud to work with the Greater Michigan Construction Academy (GMCA) on furthering our staff’s skills! Their programs have not only benefitted us, but many others across the state of Michigan. They began their first program, the Merit Shop Training Program, in 1983, where they had only 7 trades offered. In the 40 years since, they’ve doubled the trades to enroll in, and have grown their student enrollment exponentially! We currently have two Laux workers pursuing certificates through GMCA – Logan Melvin and Joren Ruhf. Both men are enrolled in the carpentry program, with Logan in his second year and Joren finishing his first semester. They will be learning about building materials, how to properly read construction drawings regarding both residential and commercial projects, installation and finishes of multiple features (such as doors and drywall), as well as introductions to other trades that they may come in contact with!
Our field team here at Laux Construction is made up of individuals that truly define hard work and dedication to their craft. Our Site Superintendents help lead projects all across the state; Our Carpenters aid our team and the subcontractors on site with anything that will help the project run smooth and efficiently; Our Laborers are able to adapt to the environment of any project we place them on; Our Shop personnel are consistently running extra supplies between different projects that allow us to complete multiple projects simultaneously with top-notch effort; and our Field Operation Manager maintains a schedule for our field staff that keeps everyone organized, projects on schedule, and always monitors the safety of each project so our teams can return home every night.
It is a good profession to be in and rewarding to see the change that you provide to owners and their projects and how it makes them feel. You might do several jobs at a time but that one owner takes theirs to heart individually and it is rewarding to see how pleased they are when you are done.Joe Eifert, Site Superintendent (25 years in trades)
Thank you to all our field staff for everything you do for us; and thank you to all those who work in the trades!
Your effort and presence on projects never goes unnoticed!
Field Operations Manager
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