1000 words…

In a nutshell…

I would point you at Mike Rowe’s foundation, Profoundly Disconnected HERE, for reinforcement of the fact that skilled trades ARE needed and pay well. One other thing to think about, school loans. How much does the trade school cost vs. a 4 year degree at your average liberal arts college? Much less a prestige college???

h/t Timmy


1000 words… — 25 Comments

  1. I think the cartoonist needs to up his wage estimate for the welding student. A quick look at welding jobs on the gulf coast shows the median salary around $36 dollars an hour. Even apprentices are making over $25/hr. Plus time and half for overtime, plus per diem if the job is in the field. A conservative estimate is that a welder with a couple of years experience will pull down something like $150K to $200K per year. And I’m too old and damaged to start up another career, dammit!

    • Oh yes. Mostly Cajun posted a job ad looking for stainless-steel TIG welders. Forty an hour, plus $96/day per diem, time and a half overtime, 64 hours per week, work guaranteed for at least eighteen months. They need forty people to start with and will be hiring more.

      15 or so years ago, the highest paid woman at Southwest Airlines was a welder with all the FAA certs and various specialty metal certs. She told me that her dad said, “If you go into welding, you’ll never go hungry.”

      I shoulda stuck with welding. But cluster joints defeated me.

      • That’s where I first saw the ad. Thanks for jogging my memory.

    • Back in the eighties, I was a start-up engineer for a nuclear power plant. For one job I was supervising a crew of pipe-fitters over the fourth of July weekend. I was the lowest paid guy on the crew. By the way the crew was a great bunch of guys and busted their collective butts to get the job done. No love for anybody who slacked off, even fellow union members. When it came time to party, well let’s just say no slackers then either.

  2. You’re on point, as usual.

    Mike Rowe’s foundation is a good place to invest in America’s future, for people with money sitting around.

    I think that it will catch on as the propaganda of a liberal arts education is reduced. Of course universities want you to take out a $500K education loan for a job that pays $30K per year instead of learning a trade.

  3. I spent 40+ years in the industrial trades as a Millwright.
    A good certified welder can make a lot more than 50k a year.
    A Journeyman Millwright can expect to earn about $45 an hour
    these days. We got good to excellent health care benefits
    and a fantastic vacation system: One of the fringe benefits
    was that the employer added a few dollars an hour for every
    hour you worked. The money was taxed and put into a vacation

    Every six months we were given a vacation check. Overtime
    sluts (like me) got a few thousand dollars twice a year. I
    have only taken 2 formal vacations in all that time.

    Another guy who was ringing the alarm bell was John
    Ratzenberger from Cheers. Before he was an actor, he was a
    carpenter. He produced a documentary called Industrial Tsunami.
    The average age of an industrial worker was then about 50 and
    there was no fresh blood entering the trades.

    Why on Earth would someone consider a degree in cultural anthropology when you can make a lot more money in the trades?
    It is no wonder why so many of these kids are living with their
    parents into their 30s!

  4. Construction management (CPA/CPM) 1970’s Prudhoe Bay after one good season paid cash for a three bedroom split level with attached two car garage in a Seattle suburb. I had one of the lower paying jobs. Welders? Two to three times what I made.

    Would have become a welder if my knees didn’t give out. Very hard physical work and I say that as someone who grew up bucking hay bales, logging, and driller assistant on a core drill rig.

  5. My apologies for the lentgh of this comment.

    My dad was a carpenter.
    I started college with the idea of becoming an architect.
    To pay for my education I served a carpenter’s apprenticeship through a state sponsered program (California Joint Apprenticeship Training Council).
    Site work for a general contractor during the workday and classes two nights a week. There was testing to qualify for the program. I knew people who could not pass the test. Math is hard.
    Advancement through the program was tied to hours on the job, classroom attendance with testing, and tool purchases at specific intervals.
    I had planned to work summers and weekends to support myself and pay for my education.
    After a couple of years of college I learned that architects had to serve a two year unpaid internship.
    As a newly minted journeyman carpenter I was making more money than the junior architect on 21 million dollar project.
    POI: In the late 70s I was helping build a home in a subdivision in Redding, CA.
    An old gentleman who lived across the street in one of the new homes approached me during my lunch break.
    He told me that he was originally from the Netherlands and had gone to university there to become a carpenter.
    He said that getting accepted to theuniverity was no easy task: letters of recommend, secondary school grades, and interviews were part of theprocess.
    He told me that the first three years were spent in lectures, lessons, and hands-on shop work. The fourth year they learned to blacksmithing and made their tools, because there could come a time when you might nee to replace a tool and there was no hardware store nearby.
    After graduation they were to travel the world as a”journeyman” learning from different teachers and cultures. After eight years of journeying you could return to the university and present your “masterpiece” and if judged worthy your were deemed to be a master carpenter.
    He worked and traveled through Europe, heard about a need for carpenters in Australia. Worked on houses there. From Ausralia he heard of a building boom on the west coast of The USA and ended up in Long Beach, CA building houses. He never wentback to the universty to seek his master’s degree.
    He went to his garage and brought out a couple of wooden bodied planes that he had made as a young man during his fourth year at the universty. Beautiful old tools. One was a joiner’s plane about 24 inches long.

    When I see a TV program and the young lady hosting the program is listed in the credits as the master carpenter I take umbrage that such an honor would be arbitrarily bestowed on someone who could possibly qualify for such.

  6. Rowe has a program called “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” Saturday evenings on TBN (just after Governor Huckabee’s show). The show is educational and entertaining. A good watch

  7. All- Thanks! And thanks too for the lessons from the folks that have actually DONE the work.

    Posted from my iPhone.

  8. Hey Old NFO;

    Kids don’t want to do the “Trades”, and I blame the high schools for pushing kids to go to college where most don’t finish and have $40,000+ or more in debt and working some $12.00 hour job and hating life, that is where Bernie gets so much of his support from people that think that college should be “free”. I tell people if they don’t mind getting their hands dirty, for example..at my employer, an AMT (Aviation Maintenance Technician) with just 40 hours a week with his top out pay at 7 and half years seniority, add license premium makes about $104,000 dollars, you add overtime and profit sharing and it goes up. How do you think I afford paying cash for my truck and motorcycle. I am one of the overtime whores at my job. Don’t knock trade school, it is a good living. if you don’t mind getting dirty and people always will need plumbers, electricians, and other skills.

  9. As a teenager i worked as an electrician, during college i did the same, when i finished with a degree in Business Finance i ran the numbers and am still an electrician at 62 and very comfortable. still working because i want to, too many people work because they have to, i am fortunate.

  10. This is one of the reasons I attended nursing school, when my first career imploded in my early 40s. 2 years, low cost, and graduate to well paying jobs and future career growth.

  11. The big obstacle is to get high school administrators to value the trades and two year colleges that lead to good paying jobs . Especially guidance conselors who measure success by how many students go on to four year schools.
    Mike Rowe is the champion of this idea, but we face an uphill battle.

  12. You can get a welding cert through the local Occ Ctr; total debt, $0, plus cost of equipment for school.

    Meanwhile, the liberal arts bozo will rack up $40-200K in debt if he even makes to graduation, and still be struggling to pay that off before he has grandkids and retires.

    My initial nursing program took 3 years, 1 of pre-reqs and two solid years of nursing classes, at $6/credit hour. {And that was all after playing around in the liberal arts bachelor’s program, and then 4+ years in the dot mil.}
    If I wanted to, I could work 7 shifts a week, and take home $150K/yr after taxes, and so can anyone with 2 yrs. experience who’s not afraid to work registry to fill holes in other hospitals’ schedules.

    I work with people who’ve paid cash for their first home, in their 20s, in Califrutopia, where the median price is somewhere in the $400K range, and in the OC, where it’s nearer $500-600K.

    And I’m looking at picking up a welding cert in my spare time, just because I want that skill. 😉

    The kids who fell for the “go to college” scam as if any degree at all is Jack’s Magic Beans are now working as “barristas”, “sandwich artists” and busboys, if they’re lucky, because no one told them before graduation that the world doesn’t need 50,000 art history majors a year to feed the professoriat pipeline, and that there are only 5-10 real jobs/year, so if you didn’t graduate from Milan, Oxford, or the Sorbonne, summa cum laude, you probably needn’t apply.

    And the kids who got studied hard and got their engineering degrees in aerospace have been laid out 37 times, and moved states three times too, just to keep a paycheck.

    The computer science folks I started with have been laid off twenty times, and their jobs outsourced to Mumbai and Singapore, and they’re either working as barristas, sandwich artists, or French fry guys at McD’s; or, they’re getting their healthcare licenses and welding certs, because they don’t speak enough Spanish to get jobs in construction west of the Rockies.


    • Oh, and BTW, I smoked the rest of my class in college prep h.s. on the SATs, and it took me ten years to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up.

      Three friends with aerospace engineering gigs were working on their third and fourth layoffs from Lockheed, Hughes, and Rocketdyne at that point.

      One of the career C-students, real nice guy, bumped into me before I started nursing school while I was still working retail after the military. He was a gear head, loved engines, and started working on cars right after graduation.

      He handed me his business card just before our tenth reunion; he’d worked his way up, and owned, at that point, 7 different muffler shops in SoCal.

      Of course, this was back when having $1M was considered a bit of money.

    • Many times during my engineering career, I wondered If I should have followed my childhood ambition and become a “cat skinner” (heavy equipment operator). At least my engineering degree paid the bills and let me see a good part of the country. Even in the seventies, I never understood the english, history, philosophy, etc. majors. The only real employment opportunities were in academia and the openings were limited, and required a PhD, thus more time and money.

  13. Started as a linemans grunt,
    promoted to lineman,electrician, foreman,general foreman,vice president.
    Opened my own shop at 40.
    Hired a lot of people and brought them up the same way. Some of them are rich now.
    My advise to young folks, “Get a trade”.
    The trouble as I see it is iphones. No sitaware and or ambition…sigh.

  14. Liberal Arts colleges are needed. Who else is going to wait upon the homeless at Starbucks?

    • You nailed it! This is the reason so many of the worthless
      generation are still living in their parent’s basement into
      their 30s. They have a framed sheepskin on their wall that
      is as worthless as Zimbabwean or Venezuelan currency. If
      that was not bad enough, they are sitting on $40,000+ student
      loan debts they can never repay.

      That degree in cultural anthropology or Eskimo lesbian dance
      theory has no other value than a teaching credential. Their
      problem is that there are not enough government jobs to go
      around. To the extent that they can even get a job, it will
      be asking customers if they “want fries with that?” or saying
      “that’s a double mocha cappuccino latte with a croissant.”

  15. Art degrees? Meh..
    Trade school or engineering. There is nothing stopping you from reading, painting or any other type of “arts” on your own time.
    It will be worth more to you to find out for yourself than a piece of shit LAD degree (not even good for toilet paper)

  16. Speaking as one of those poor, unfortunate retards who actually got a BA in Cultural Anthropology (yes, really and for true), I am here to testify that it is one of the most useless degrees on the planet. In the entire time since I graduated college, I saw exactly one job posting that listed a BA in CA as a requirement for the job. It was for a black history museum. I’m as white as it gets. Never even got a courtesy call of hysterical laughter from them.

    I say that to say this. Despite it being a useless degree, I have parlayed the critical thinking skills I learned among other things into a decent career handling litigated insurance claims. I’ve been in management, and I’ve made six figure money. If I had it to do over again, I’d choose a trade in a heart beat.