There are a lot of amazing organizations out there today looking to help recruit the next generation of industry professionals through collaborations and partnerships—like Chicago Women in Trades, Revolution Workshop, and plenty more in local colleges.
The efforts of all of these organizations are focused on helping individuals understand how to get into industrial trades, as well as what skills they need to be working on while they’re in high school. This kind of purposeful mentorship is huge in addressing the skills gap. Here are a few ways how.
Attracting a New Generation to Industrial Jobs
For example,FH Paschen, has a program called Paschen Scholars, which connects with high school students in the hopes of increasing their engagement with STEM. It’s no secret that women tend to be less engaged in STEM than they ought to be, so programs like this one help engage women, and men, into the STEM arena.
These programs help mold these kids, and break down barriers for them. This, in turn, helps develop the pipeline for better trade workers, better project managers, etc. Construction specifically, as well as a lot of other industry jobs, don’t often sound appealing to women—but this is likely more to do with stereotypes than actual reality.
According to the 2016 census, women only make up about 29% of the manufacturing industry. They don’t always see construction as a good career for them, but in reality, careers like these give you flexibility, and a long-lasting job with great wages and great benefits. A lot of people don’t realize how great a career like that could be for them and their families, because they haven’t been presented with the opportunities.
Honest Feedback on Future Career Options
When students are young, and start thinking about a possible future career, they’re usually thinking about a few things:
Will this job be something I can excel at?
Will my job align with my values?
Will I be able to support myself in this field?
Will I be able to get along with others in my industry?
A parent or advisor probably won’t have answers to all of these questions, because they probably aren’t familiar with the industrial sector. A mentor, on the other hand, is uniquely positioned to know this, as well as the student’s passions and personality. They’ll be able to direct them more accurately.
A mentor is able to make suggestions based on long-term interests, professional skills, personality traits, and available opportunities.
Having a Network of Like-Minded Individuals
It’s crucial, in just about any industry, to surround yourself with a trustworthy network of people who think like you do, and have shared similar experiences. That means in your work life, and in your personal life. It’s important to have people you can turn to when you need advice, people who understand your struggles and know you really well—especially if you’re an industry minority.
For example, if you’re a woman in manufacturing, you probably feel like a minority. It’s a very male-dominated industry. Find some career women you can turn to for advice! Make sure you work with a company, even if it is male-dominated, that shares your values and respects your contributions.
Guiding Young Professionals to Fulfilling, Successful Careers
Mentors can teach their mentees about the connections between community and small businesses, and the potential they hold. Giving back to your community is extremely important, as is treating the people who work for you, as people. The better you treat them, the harder they’ll work for you!
When you treat your people with respect, your company will be successful. Look for talent in your immediate community—invest in your community! Always be authentic, always seek out the advice and wisdom of others, and always be grateful for others’ hard work.
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