Will your toilet still work in ten years?!  How about your heater/air conditioner?

plumbing and air conditioning trades at risk article-picture of toilet in the Phoenix desertHere is an excellent interview with actor and entrepreneur John Ratzenberger (see the link to the interview at the bottom of this page) on the subject of the critical shortage of qualified tradespeople, like plumbers, heating & air conditioning techs, electricians, etc., in this country.

He says the average age of skilled tradespeople is now 58 1/2!  Wow!  In less than a decade, we could see the quality of life begin to decline in the United States ….. unless young people start going to tradeschools, and mechanical/technical colleges, and entering these fields.

Imagine the impact on your life if your air conditioner stops working (or your heater, if you live in a northern climate) but when you call the HVAC company they tell you they can send someone out in a couple of weeks.  Or, your toilet stops up and the plumber says he can put you on his list for a week from now.

Ratzenberger makes the comment that the US could slip into something that resembles a third world country, where you can’t be sure the light will come on when the switch is flipped or hot water will come out of the faucet, if we continue down this path.

He also tells of a contractor he knows who hires welders from Argentina for his boiler-making business.  Is that the direction we’re going in? Having to hire skilled workers from other countries?

And, we haven’t even addressed the issues already being faced by the new construction industry when it comes to finding qualified employees and sub-contractors.  Much of our country is facing a serous shortage of homes for sale, and many are looking to the new home builders for relief.  Of course, home builders would love to accelerate the rate at which they’re producing new homes for sale – these homes area being snapped up by buyers.  But a paucity of skilled workers is handicapping their efforts.

To a large extent, Ratzenberger believes the trades have not gotten the recognition and respect they deserve in this country, and this has contributed to the decline of the trades and crafts industries as younger people flock to colleges, racking up tens of thousands of dollars in tuition loans – sometimes more! – along the way.  But, studies show that 50% of college graduates are now working in jobs that don’t require a degree! 

In some countries (Germany, for instance, which is now considered the cornerstone of Europe according to Ratzenberger) mechanics are looked up to as much as doctors, and stonemasons get as much respect as stockbrokers.  Does America need a wake-up call?

Ratzenberger makes some good suggestions (reinstating shop classes in middle and high schools, for instance).  It is, as I said, an excellent interview and will get you thinking.  And, hopefully, it will get us all engaged in helping to solve this national problem.

Questions? (Yes, even about general subjects like working in the plumbing and air conditioning industries….) Give us a call!  An experienced tech is always available during business hours to answer your questions.

Stevens Plumbing Heating & Air Conditioning 
(602) 273-7473

See the full interview here: http://video.foxbusiness.com/v/2400147965001/should-trades-like-plumbing-be-encouraged-more/