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close video Technical companies dealing with shortage of young, skilled trade workers

Technical companies are having a hard time replacing older trade workers who are retiring. There haven’t been enough young people training to fill open roles.

Technical companies are seeing an increase in older skilled-trade workers retiring. 

And there isn't enough young people training to fill the open roles, leaving more supply than demand. 

"Full Speed Plumbing," outside Seattle has an opening for a new apprentice, but finding the right candidate has been tougher than normal. 

"There’s really good opportunity for smart young guys coming in if they’re willing to just put in a few years," said Full Speed Plumbing Chief Visionary Officer Bo McKenzie. 

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Bo McKenzie is having a tougher time than normal finding young trade workers to fill openings (Fox News / Fox News)

That’s because there are fewer candidates. According to the online recruiting platform Handshake, technical companies saw an average of 10 applications for each open job in 2020 and just five last year. 

The number of applicants for available technical worker jobs was cut in half from 2020 to 2022 (Fox News / Fox News)

"There is that systemic stigma that students shouldn’t go the pathway of working with their hands and going into the trades," said Robb Sommerfeld with the National Center for Craftsmanship. "And that’s unfortunate." 

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McKenzie usually looks for someone on the younger side who can grow within the company.

"Getting the ones fresh out of high school is few and far between," McKenzie said. "And you really have to watch for the right ones and try to draw them in."

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Sommerfeld thinks more work needs to be done to recruit and properly train younger workers. 

McKenzie wants to hire more younger workers at “Full Speed Plumbing.” (Fox News / Fox News)

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"If we want to make an investment into our future, we really need to put our money where our mouth is," Sommerfeld said. "And get these students and educators the machines that they need, the training that they need."

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1.7 million infrastructure workers will either retire or leave their job every year until 2031.
 

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