Why should you consider entering the skilled trades or technical school education? What was once an exception has become an expectation among the millions of graduating high school students:  acceptance into a traditional college or university to earn a four-year degree.  Whether or not our students know what they will do when/if they graduate, is another matter.  Most students have been told to get their associates or bachelor’s degrees (regardless of major).  And many students believe earning that college sheepskin is their ticket to assured financial and vocational success.

But what if your student hears a different calling?  What if another four (4) years of Language Arts, Science, and Math does not make him/her want to get up in the morning and go to class? Shop Class provides a chance for kids to be creative and learn hands-on skills at school. These days, most K-12 education does not include a Shop Class, unless your community is fortunate enough to have Career Academies like Polk County Public Schools (PCPS). Engineered Energy Equipment (EEE) looks forward to volunteering and mentoring students interested in pursuing the skilled trades and technical school education.

Boiler Technician and Co-Founder of EEE, Kevin Warren, said that Shop Class was not only his favorite class at Lakeland High School, but the skills he acquired in PCPS led him to pursue a career in the United States Navy, retiring as Chief Petty Officer over the boiler rooms of Navy ships.

“I was way too hyper and inquisitive to sit in school listening to lectures all day. Shop Class provided me hands-on training. I was stimulated and learned I had a “mechanical” mind. My greatest memory from the class was tearing down an engine and re-assembling it,” said Warren.

Ken Robinson, Ph.D, author of Creative Schools, The Element, Finding Your Element, and Out of Our Minds lamented that vocational programs like Shop Class have been on the decline in the last decade because of emphasis on improving standardized test scores, not skills. “The work of electricians, builders, plumbers, chefs, paramedics, carpenters, mechanics, engineers, security staff, and all the rest is absolutely vital to the quality of each of our livesYet the demands of academic testing mean that schools often aren’t able to focus on these other capabilities at all.”

Despite a growing job market clamoring for skilled, young laborers; we are observing highly educated men and women who graduate from college with little hands-on experience or proven skills to help them land the job they want. Trade schools offer students an expedited path to making a steady paycheck.  Many industrial/mechanical companies provide on-the-job-training and apprenticeships.

In a post-pandemic world, we are seeing more and more demand for an experienced, skilled workforce to contribute to our growing industrial and manufacturing sector in Florida (and beyond). Author of “Shop Class as Soulcraft,” Matthew B. Crawford, wrote, “You can’t hammer a nail over the Internet,” yet many of our students have spent the last 2.5 years taking online classes via Zoom.

In 2022, skilled trades offer high salary potential and job stability as well as providing workers with a marketable skillset that can be transferred from Spokane, WA to Miami, FL. No matter where you live, a mechanical contractor, welder, plumber, electrician, etc. will be able to find a good job.

Instead of a four-year college degree from a traditional university, why not consider attending a trade or vocational school? Trade schools generally cost less and take less time to complete. Students who complete a vocational education do not incur the amount of college debt that traditional university students do.

Is making a decent wage your student’s primary goal? Technical schools offer a shorter timeline to a real paycheck than most university programs. Bachelor’s degrees take four (4) years or more to graduate. By contrast, many vocational certificates can be earned in two (2) years, while others take a year or less.

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics
Carpenter$48,330 per year
Ironworker$53,650 per year
Plumber$55,160 per year
Electrician$56,180 per year
Home Inspector$60,710 per year
Dental Hygienist$76,220 per year
Elevator Mechanic$84,990 per year
Construction Manager$95,260 per year
Air Traffic Controller$122,990 per year
Median Entry Level Salaries

Trade school introduces students to local industry professionals who can become excellent job references, centers of influence, mentors, and referral sources. Lakeland-based Engineered Energy Equipment is co-located with Keller Mechanical and Engineering

EEE is committed to ongoing professional development and giving back to our community and our profession. We are active members of our local ASHRAE chapter (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers); the Florida Hospital Engineering Association (FHEA); Bay Area Manufacturing Association (BAMA), and the Industrial Network Group (ING). We work with local industry that spans from hospitals to hotels to citrus processing to Central Florida’s “Magic” place.

Our EEE and Keller teams and the manufacturers we represent would be pleased to provide high school students, college students, and lifelong learners with education and opportunities to explore careers in the skilled trades.  Contact us at info@eeeinc.net, or give us a call at 863-682-3333 to receive #AnswersToYourBurningQuestions, or to learn more about Engineered Energy Equipment.