A Worthy Trade Alternative
Many of you reading this are in your late teens or early 20s. That is a prime age to enter training for a career in a skilled trade. The purpose of this blog is to help you, as the title of this website makes clear, to “explore the trades.”
I’m going to depart from that cause momentarily to discuss another alternative. That is, military service. For those of you who can make the grade – and not everyone can, because our nation’s volunteer military has some pretty stiff standards – the military services offer a wide variety of technical training that often translates to civilian careers in a skilled trade. Many plumbing, HVAC and electrical companies have active recruiting programs for military veterans. Even soldiers and sailors not directly working in those trades while on active duty are desirable candidates. Many were trained to operate or maintain a variety of complex military equipment. They can pick up the particulars of a civilian trade much quicker than a raw apprentice without any technical background.
By the way, the military services also feature highly trained women working in a variety of technical fields. Military service might be even more advantageous for women than for men. Female veterans already know what it’s like to succeed in a male-dominated workplace.
Trade employers value not only the technical proficiencies of military veterans, but also their discipline, vigor and dedication required to fulfill military duties. I can’t think of any other occupation where 19- and 20-year-olds are routinely put in charge of equipment worth millions of dollars.
As an Army veteran, I was drafted into military service in a bygone era. I didn’t necessarily want to serve, and I couldn’t wait for my two-year term to end. Yet, looking back, I recognize that it made me a better person and set the stage for more success in life than I probably would have achieved without that experience. Among other things, educational benefits enabled me to become the first in my family to attend college. Similar benefits are available to today’s veterans, including funding for technical schools.
I share these thoughts a few weeks before our country celebrates Memorial Day on the last Monday of each May. To many Americans, Memorial Day means a day off from work and a chance to indulge in picnics and other forms of recreation. That’s all well and good, and I, too, look forward to those indulgences.
But let’s also take time out to remember and honor the sacrifice of so many military veterans. Many have paid the ultimate sacrifice in battlefields worldwide. Even those who emerge without wounds of war put up with more hardships in service to our country than most of us endure in our civilian jobs. All military veterans who served honorably can hold their heads high, and most employers realize that.
Enough masquerading as a military recruiter. My role still is to convince you readers to explore the trades. I’m simply drawing attention to a way to kickstart a rewarding trade career.