Explore a Career in the Trades

Students across the country are exploring a career in the trades because of its high earnings potential, meaningful work and low cost of entry.

The timing couldn’t be better: just as interest has renewed in preparing for a career in the trades, companies are desperate for trained and skilled tradespeople.

Here are some facts for anyone considering a career path in the skilled trades and/or construction industry.

Don’t miss this

A survey of 3,000 young Americans, conducted by rental equipment company BigRentz, showed a negative perception of pay potential and job security for the construction industry.

When asked about the advantage of a trade school over a college, only 27 percent of the survey respondents indicated less debt and just 11 percent viewed trade school as a pathway to high-paying jobs. Fully 43 percent of the survey felt trade schools offer no advantages over colleges.

This despite the fact that 27 percent of trade school graduates earn more money and have a four percent higher employment rate than many college graduates.

That survey was conducted in 2019. When BigRentz surveyed another 1,500 people a couple of years later during the pandemic, 33 percent now saw trade school as more desirable than college. And, as the pandemic continues to influence the economy and career choices, this number will likely grow.

Colleges versus trade schools. The costs.

One roadblock to people seeking higher education is usually related to cost. U.S. News reported that the average tuition and fees at ranked colleges ranged from $10,338 at public, in-state institutions to $38,185 for private colleges. said total student loan debt in September, 2021, stood at $1.75 trillion, spread over roughly 43 million borrowers.

Tuitions as trade schools typically average $33,000 for programs that can last from six weeks to a year. But many students graduate with little or no student debt to detract from their higher earnings.

This results from the lower tuition costs at trade schools and the fact that many companies will pay for a student’s education if they participate in an apprentice program. U.S. government statistics show 92 percent of apprentices who complete their program go on to earn an average annual salary of $72,000.

Not just for the guys

The majority of construction industry jobs have traditionally been held by men. U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showed in 2021 that women accounted for only 11 percent of all employed persons in the industry. But with new construction industry job openings standing at nearly two million in 2022, companies are taking concrete steps to hire and train women to fill those roles.

Today, many national and local organizations and top firms are attempting to move the needle on the number of women in the industry by investing time and resources toward attracting them. While they may currently be underrepresented, the growing number of women entering construction may be one of the brightest spots in the industry’s future.

The Lee difference

Working at Lee is all about the unique opportunities offered every employee. From company stock ownership to unlimited advancement possibilities, employment at Lee is a proven pathway to a solid career. Consider the benefits:

  • Lee is an employee-owned company. That means every employee of the company is an owner of the company.
  • All employees at Lee are cross-trained, meaning crew members are trained in multiple specialties. Sharing across departments balances the load and opens up opportunities to stay busy at all times, avoiding the feast or famine experience of construction work.
  • There is no limit to how far you can advance at Lee. While those looking to begin their career in the trades typically start as a shop assistant or in the facilities department, if you are willing to work hard, the doors are open.
  • Lee will pay for your training. For Department of Labor-certified trade apprentices, Lee will not only pay for trade school, you’ll receive an annual retention bonus for your first four years.
  • You don’t need prior skills or knowledge for entry-level positions at Lee. We invest in our employees through on-the-job training alongside industry veterans that love to see people grow in their career.
  • Lee equips crew members with the very best. We work hard to maintain our reputation for providing the best tools and equipment available.

If you’re interested in learning the trades at a company with unlimited opportunities, you simply won’t find a better place than Lee. It’s not a difficult sell; every single person here loves to tell their story, and will do so for anyone who will listen. Just ask your friends at Lee.

Want to explore the opportunities for training and employment at Lee? Get to know us with a call today.