Skilled trades – welders, machinists, electricians, technicians – are currently in such high demand that the industries simply can’t fill all the available positions. These positions don’t require a college degree, but rather are learned through a trade school program that incorporates learning with hands-on experience.

With the majority of high school students choosing the traditional college route after graduation, the supply of qualified workers is diminishing. Additionally, older workers are reaching the age of retirement and are leaving the workforce. Unlike other occupations, the high physical demand of the most skilled trades prevents workers from putting off retirement longer.

With fewer students attending trade schools and older workers retiring, the qualified welders, electricians, machinists and technicians are in short supply and the current workforce is unable to fulfill the demand for skilled trade workers. To meet the workforce demand, the Greater Michigan Construction Academy (GMCA) recently announced the addition of its 11th program and Welding is now among the skilled trades in the 4-year program. The others include programs for Carpentry, Electrician, HVAC, Instrumentation, Insulation, Ironworker, Millwright, Pipefitter, Pluming and Sheet Metal.

Each of these skilled trades provides new workers looking to join the workforce a great opportunity in a field with little competition, high wages and high demand. United States President Barack Obama, Governor Rick Snyder and GMCA Director of Education Stephanie Davis all agree that there is a shortage of qualified workers in the field, creating a desperate need to train new workers and develop a strong labor force.

Computer experts, game-makers, doctors, nurses, teachers, social workers, counselors and other traditional jobs that require college degrees often find a shortage of available jobs to employ the high number of qualified, graduating students. There simply isn’t enough jobs to go around. As a result, they will find it more difficult to obtain employment while qualified technicians and other skilled trade workers will find themselves is high-paying jobs almost immediately after program completion.