Skilled workers are in demand nation-wide and Chicago area businesses tell NBC 5 there are a lot of good-paying jobs in industries that are not going anywhere, from heating and cooling specialists to truck drivers.
“There are lots of people out there from 35 to 55 that can do very well being a professional truck driver,” said Dave Moss of the Illinois Trucking Association.
Moss added that it is common in today’s economy for a truck driver to earn a lucrative sign-on bonus and earn close to six figures a year if they are willing to stay out a couple weeks at a time.
“It’s a great industry. It’s been around forever,” Moss said.
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Trade industry experts say skilled workers are retiring sooner and many high schools focus more on preparing students for college.
However, instructors at Technology Center of DuPage, which partners with more than thirty suburban high schools, said they are seeing more young people who desire to enter a trade.
“We get students who haven’t succeeded in traditional settings and they succeed here on a daily basis. Then we’ve got the students who are great students at their buildings and they’re looking for more hands-on approach for their learning,” said principal Jason Hlavacs.
Students at TCD pick up hammers and tools of the trades so they are prepared after leaving high school.
“If they get accepted in a union apprenticeship, they’re turning a journeyman by 4 or 5 years after that, making awesome money,” said HVAC & residential wiring instructor Steve Cervenka.
Lisle High School junior Amara Gutierrez said she has a goal of becoming a union electrician and possibly a dentist.
She described what it is like to learn valuable trade skills while attending TCD for part of her school day.
“Just seeing how in the beginning you can start off with the most simplest things and it can look complicated in a way when you’re planning things out and where to put them and that later on it can just build and create, you see it little, by little create into something that you worked so hard for,” Gutierrez said.