Service work especially demands a clean background.   Life is tough for people who end up in prison. It can be even tougher when they get out and have to fend for themselves when it comes to providing their own food and shelter. Job opportunities are very limited for those with a criminal record....

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But that means opportunity for you!   For the fifth year in a row, the lack of skilled trade workers topped ManpowerGroup’s 2014 survey on the hardest jobs to fill in the U.S. Not only are plumbers, HVAC technicians and electricians in short supply, the situation is growing steadily worse because...

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This trade is more critical than ever.   Skilled electricians always have been in high demand, but the trade is becoming more critical than ever because of the abundance of electronic systems being installed in homes and commercial buildings nowadays. So-called “smart homes” feature a array...

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HVAC jobs entail much responsibility.   HVAC is common industry shorthand for Heating-Ventilating-Air Conditioning. Sometimes you’ll see the acronym as HVAC/R, the R standing for Refrigeration. Refrigeration is quite similar to Air Conditioning in technology and training, so for the sake of simplicity...

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Plumbers protect the health of our nation.   The plumbing trade is worth exploring by anyone interested in a job that will never become obsolete or be outsourced to another country. A favorite slogan of the plumbing trade is: “Plumbers protect the health of our nation.” In a very real sense...

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Is it really training or just cheap labor?   In choosing an apprenticeship program, you have some basic decisions to make. Do you wish to pursue union employment or nonunion? Are you more intrigued by construction or service work? Most union-run apprenticeship programs are renowned for stressing...

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Most formal apprenticeship programs neglect service work.   In my last article I described traditional apprenticeship programs established by contractors, unions and nonunion companies for the construction trades. Some of the plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians who fix and maintain those...

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It combines classroom instruction with hands-on work.   Apprenticeship dates back to the Middle Ages in Europe as a way for master craftsmen to pass on their knowledge and techniques to younger generations. The craftsman would employ one or more young people at minimal wages in exchange for teaching...

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Working for free is unheard of in the trades.   You may have thought that the Emancipation Proclamation did away with slave labor in this country, but it persists in many office buildings around the country. That’s where thousands of college students spend their summers or evening hours fetching...

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