Skip To Main Content

Skilled Trades

What is a Skilled Trade?

Skilled trades are occupations that require a special skill, knowledge or ability which can be obtained at a college, technical school or through specialized training. Skilled trades provide an alternative to jobs that require four years of college education. While skilled trades can be separated into many areas such as manufacturing, technology, energy, and healthcare, they are generally divided into the following three categories:

1. Skilled Industrial Trades: welders, machinists, mechanics, tool and die makers, programmers

2. Skilled Construction Trades: electricians, plumbers, gasfitters, carpenters, bricklayers, technicians, insulators

3. Skilled Service Trades: nurses, aides, orderlies, therapists, service technicians,

There is a growing concern within the field of trades that we will soon see a critical shortage of adequately trained and competent skilled workers. As the baby boom generation continues to retire and leave the workforce, a lack of qualified candidates to step into vacant trade positions could severely impact economic growth. Several theories have been offered to explain the 'skilled trades gap.' Some include: mismatch between employee skills and employer needs, stagnant wages, specific technical requirements, a lack of employer sponsored on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs and declining interest in skilled trades careers among graduating students.