What Will You Be?

What do I want to be when I grow up?

What do I do now that I have finished high school?

This is a hard decision facing many young people right now. As part of our recruiting efforts, we speak with many high school students and guidance counselors every year. I always start with the same question: who wants to be a plumber, electrician, carpenter, or HVAC technician? I usually see very few hands raised.

My next question is what do you want to be? I seem to always get the same responses: engineer, architect, doctor, lawyer, casino manager. While I applaud these students for their lofty goals, I wonder to myself if they have looked at the cost and time involved in training and, most importantly, the salary and job outlook for their planned career.

When I ask students about those things, most have no idea of the forecast growth and starting salary for the career they have chosen. This make me wonder how such highly intelligent students can commit a minimum of four years of their lives and thousands of dollars for training for a career in which they may never be able to get a job.

I realize that not everyone has the mental capacity for a career as tradesperson, but I think that many do, so it disturbs me that they are planning to waste a lot of time and money on education for career that may never even take off.

They are making choices without even considering their options.

We have had several successful graduates from our programs that came to us because they could not find jobs even though they held a bachelor’s or master’s degree. We have programs where, in as little as sixteen weeks, we can prepare a student for a rewarding career, a career that has an expected job growth of more than 20% and a median pay of about $20-25 per hour.

I’ve had many students ask how much money they could make in the trades, and my reply is always, “How much do you want to make?” There are many very wealthy business owners that got their start at a technical college.

We just ask that you consider all your options before making a decision that will affect the rest of your life.



Surge Protection


lightening storm

Since this is the time of year for tremendous lightning storms and heavy winds that can cause downed power lines, I thought I’d share some information on surge protection. Electrical surges are caused when higher than line voltages are inadvertently applied to the internal wiring of a building.

Most people have surge protection for their electronics in the form of power strips with built-in surge protection, and they are great, but they only protect the items plugged into them. What about your other electronics? Do you have one of the newer clothes washers? Dryer? Range? Microwave? If so, then a power surge could damage these items resulting in costly repairs. A whole house surge protection unit may be a good investment for your house. With whole house surge protection, all of the electronics in the house would then have surge protection. A whole house surge protector is installed in, or attached to, the main breaker panel. Some are even designed so that they replace one of the double pole (240 volt such as the range or dryer) breakers. Others mount to the outside of the panel.

A friend told me a few days ago that the control board went out on her kitchen range. When she had a service technician check the range, she was told that the part to fix her three-year-old range was no longer available, and if it were, it would cost $275.00 plus labor to install. Of course, we commiserated a bit about how things aren’t made the way they used to be, but the bottom line is that spending a few dollars for whole house surge protection may have prevented the damage. As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

For more information on whole house surge protection, call a licensed electrician or visit the website for the manufacturer of your electrical panel. I have also included a link to a great article on the This Old House website.