"College isn't the only road to success.." says Joe Lamacchia, author of the new book ““Blue Collar & Proud of It” ” (HCI; May 1, 2009).
The Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated that between 2004 and 2014 there will be 40 million job openings for workers without a bachelor's degree. That's more than twice the number of jobs for people graduating from four-year colleges and universities.
Skilled trade workers are in high demand to fix our country's crumbling infrastructure, as everything from roads to bridges to tunnels to pipelines continue to deteriorate. Green-collar work-combining blue-collar work with environmentally-conscious industries-will also create massive job openings for hybrid car manufacturing, green construction, organic farming, sustainable fishing, eco-friendly landscaping, and more.
These trades, for so long viewed by society as "alternatives" are, in fact, conscious choices to excel in a different arena, stresses “Blue Collar & Proud of It”. It's time for society, including students, parents, and schools, to break the stigma surrounding blue-collar work and restore it as a source of livelihood, meaning, and pride.
Author Joe Lamacchia never went to college. The son of an educated finance executive, Lamacchia recognized early on that college didn't suit his strengths or interests. He suffered from ADD and earned poor marks in school but had a passion for working outside. That passion evolved into 28 fruitful years in the landscaping business and as an entrepreneur. He took the blue collar route and now owns a $1.5 million landscaping company in Newton, Mass., a wealthy suburb of Boston.
Skilled trade careers require more than a high school diploma; as machinery becomes more computerized, technical, and sophisticated, so do the skills needed to operate it. Employers look for candidates who have undergone career and technical education (CTE). “Blue Collar & Proud of It” contains a thorough directory of schools, apprenticeships, and postsecondary training sites across the country, broken down by trade. It also details specific positions, including the nature of the work, necessary training, compensation, and outlook for the future.
As parents and teachers push the college route, they unwittingly neglect other viable career options. “Blue Collar & Proud of It” explores exciting, challenging, and lucrative opportunities in growing fields like transportation, manufacturing, and trucking. Lamacchia has proven that success and higher education are not mutually exclusive. Skilled trade careers offer the potential to grow and run your own business, outside of the traditional classroom and cubicle.