Blue: The Best Color for Collars

National Skilled Trades Day: A Call to Action

National Skilled Trades Day was founded to bring attention to the shortage of skilled trades in the United States. It is, of course, a day (or week in our case!), to celebrate and honor the courageous skilled tradespeople.

I’m not sure about you but I love the fact that the lights always work when I turn them on. We all take significant enjoyment in our air conditioning during the summer months and our heat in the winter. Those are simple luxuries we take for granted that a skilled tradesperson worked to make happen. There are SO many more important jobs that require specific skill sets.

The Covid crisis is an ideal example of our desperate need for skilled trade workers. Our country’s infrastructure is dependent on the brilliant people who are brave enough to roll up their sleeves and perfect their trade.

Four Year Degree = The Good Life Without Hard Work

I can still see it: My high school guidance counselor’s office. There were posters in her office. Although I can not recall their exact wordings, it was extremely clear that a four year college degree was the only path to earning a good living. Perception translation: The Good Life without Hard Work.

Vocational arts were not discussed; and still today are not widely discussed and given the respect of a four year university program. Despite today’s staggering $1.5 Trillion in college student loan debt, the stigma remains: The path to trade apprenticeships, vocational arts programs and community college is the consolation prize. Little by little our culture has planted the misguided belief that a skilled trades career is not desirable.

The result: A Skills Gap. No…. A Skills Chasm.

In the next decade, there will be 2.7 million skilled tradespeople retiring. Add to that 700,000 new jobs created by things like the changing landscape of manufacturing, electrical engineering and maintenance, shifts to renewable energy, techniques with tools and programming for automation. The math is scary: 2.7 million retiring + 700,000 new = 3.5 million total jobs requiring skilled labor. *

LEAD supplements the Skilled Trade workforces for clients in many industrial industries with primary focus on Marine, Solar and Industrial Construction segments. Mark Curtiss, President, founded LEAD in 2010. As an 18 year industry veteran and leader, his broad knowledge of the trades required for LEAD’s target markets is driving the company to accelerated growth with an ever increasing need for skilled crafts people, skilled tradespeople and journey-level employees.

“We operate with integrity every single day. The commitment to our skilled tradespeople is tangible on all levels. It begins with matching them to meaningful opportunities with reputable companies and our commitment doesn’t end there. It is an ongoing endeavor to ensure they and our client are mutually successful.” –Mark Curtiss, President

As a leader in the Skilled Trade staffing industry, LEAD believes in contributing to the development of the skilled trade pool. Materialization of the contributions vary by client and state in accordance with state regulations and licensing requirements.

How Do We Change the Misperception about Skilled Labor?? Make it cool again!

It is being proven, especially during the current pandemic, that opportunities in the trades aren’t alternatives to viable careers — they are viable careers. And the earning potential, all things considered, is equal to or higher than some 4-year degree programs!

Now THAT is cool!

On the slate at LEAD is an Apprenticeship Program. In conjunction with current and new- to-the-table clients, as well as state licensing requirements and individual state Departments of Labor, LEAD plans to help close the skills gap. An apprenticeship program will not only assist our clients in finding and developing the best talent for their organizations, it will also help the country’s infrastructure with contributions to the skills gap.

The Awareness Gap

Apprenticeship programs and the myriad array of efforts by employers and many others are fantastic and much needed. Until the awareness gap is addressed, however, progress will be slow. The awareness gap is the “breach between what people think they know about a particular industry and what is actually true”. *

Manufacturing is a prime example. For many, it brings to mind images of a grubby factory and low paying work. In reality, manufacturing is a very high-tech, high-precision field where, on average, workers are earning more than $80k* annually.

Many people don’t know what they don’t know.

My favorite color is blue.

We need more blue in our lives.


The Future of Jobs Report – World Economic Forum 
Forbes, Mark C. Perna, December 2019