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Trades Hub provides what you need for every step of your career journey

Career Path Step Worksheet

As a high school senior, choosing a career may seem like a monumental task; it is one which many people don’t even begin to address until their late 20’s or 30’s. Given the considerable expense of a four-year college education today, however, it is an important decision to try to make before embarking on your post-high school journey.

What does a career pursuit look like? A student identifies a passion or skill set to be developed, or an end game in terms of a future job, and then determines the steps needed to be successful on this path (how do I get hired? what skills do I need to be successful? how do I advance?). Banker, welder, small business owner, electrician, lawyer, machinist, consultant, automotive tech, carpenter. These are all obviously careers, with different paths associated with them.

What, on the other hand, does it look like to simply get a degree? A student is undecided about a future career path, believes that a bachelor’s degree is a requirement for future success, and enters a four-year institution with the hope that a career will be discovered prior to graduation and a decent job not long after.

This question is especially important to answer for the student who may want to pursue a trades and manufacturing career but, for any number of reasons, is pressured to pursue a college degree. For this student, a trip down the college path may result in just another addition to the college dropout pool. In Minnesota, over one in three of the freshmen entering a four-year college do not graduate within six years. A twenty- or twenty-one-year old who drops out of college, having accumulated both student debt and most likely a feeling of having failed in some capacity, will face a number of personal challenges that were not there at the time of high school graduation

The primary purpose of this Trades Hub website is to provide high school students with information necessary to make a wise decision regarding a career in trades and manufacturing. It is critical to understand that this is NOT a decision between a trades and manufacturing career and a bachelor’s degree. Rather, for the student considering a trades and manufacturing career, this is a decision to pursue such a career immediately through a job, apprenticeship, or technical school education, knowing full well that a bachelor’s degree may be added at a later date in support of this career.

Many high school seniors know they wish to pursue a career in advertising, banking, or law, all of which typically require a bachelor’s degree before obtaining one’s first job in these fields. For these students, it is a wise career decision to go directly from high school to a traditional four-year college to obtain a bachelor’s or equivalent degree.

Most careers in trades and manufacturing, on the other hand, offer a variety of paths requiring that you spend relative little money for your schooling at the beginning (especially when you consider available scholarships!). Apprenticeships, technical schools, and direct jobs provide either relatively small expenses for school, or very reasonable income levels, to begin a career which can ultimately prove to be both financially and intellectually rewarding. In addition, due to both the highly-skilled nature of the work and a general shortage of skilled workers, many companies in these industries encourage and also pay for their employees to obtain additional schooling which both develops the employees and advances their careers.

Source Minnesota graduation rates: U.S. Department of Education

Explore Careers
Find your trade Welder Fabricating Structures. Forming Strong Bonds.

Get an inside view of what it takes to start your career in the trades. Meet industry vets and hear what a typical day looks like for them. They'll explain the path they took, the perks and challenges of the job, and steps you can take to get started on your career journey.

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Hey There! Welcome to the new Trades Hub job board.

Did you find a career you’re interested in? If you’re not sure, check out the Careers section of the website where we currently have seventeen featured. Be sure to explore the videos for each.

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