What is Trade Up?
Finding Your Future in the New Mexico Building Trades
Workforce development is reaching a critical point in New Mexico. One of the biggest challenges facing the building trade industries is the shortage of skilled workers. This shortage is manifested throughout our state.
Compounding issues for the building trades is the long-time trend to have every student pursue a university degree after graduating high school. Equivalent to fitting square pegs into round holes, every student is designed to succeed in different ways. Some through a trade apprenticeship and two year associates degree, others through a four-year degree program.
As the current workforce nears retirement, the average age of union craftsmen is continually increasing – meaning, there are fewer people entering into the profession. The worker shortage is also seen in back-office positions like accountants, book keepers, human resource and marketing professionals.
The three business associations and their respective labor unions that will be negatively impacted by the workforce crisis include the New Mexico Sheet Metal Contractors Association, Sheet Metal Workers Local Union 49, Mechanical Contractors Association of New Mexico, Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Local 412, and the National Electrical Contractors Association of New Mexico, International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 611.
The aligned organizations are working together to promote the building trades, generate more interest in apprentice programs and promote membership in respective unions through the Mechanical Electrical Sheet Metal Contractors Association (MESA). The “Trade Up” approach is based on a philosophy that every student, every person, has the opportunity to improve their position in life. This is achieved through personal coaching, being taught new skills and giving back to the community. Just as one can Trade Up from go carts to NASCAR, flag football to the NFL, students have the chance to Trade Up their position in life through a career in the building construction trades.