Jerry Bush, president and CEO of University Mechanical Contractors in Mukilteo, says jobs in the skilled trades can be a viable alternative for young people who may not be interested in pursuing a college education. He likes the idea of programs such as Sno-Isle TECH, which gives high school students a head start training for the trades and other technical careers.

Jerry Bush, president and CEO of University Mechanical Contractors in Mukilteo, says jobs in the skilled trades can be a viable alternative for young people who may not be interested in pursuing a college education. He likes the idea of programs such as Sno-Isle TECH, which gives high school students a head start training for the trades and other technical careers.

Boosting trades training will address shortages: Snohomish County Council candidate

Company CEO says giving high schoolers a chance to try the trades makes good long-term sense

A booming Pacific Northwest economy comes with many benefits, but for the construction and manufacturing industries, being busy all the time has often led to shortages of skilled trades workers.

Jerry Bush, president and CEO of University Mechanical Contractors in Mukilteo, has concerns about the challenge his company will soon face around replacing workers who are now approaching retirement.

“At this point, I think the attrition in our business is going to far outweigh the number of new people coming in,” he says. “I think the opportunities that exist in the trades, with family-supporting wages and now, good benefits, are largely undersung because of the emphasis we place today on going to college.”

While college is the right choice for some young people, Bush says, the ability for others to avoid a large student loan, earn a good living wage as they train, and take advantage of apprenticeship opportunities can drive the local economy even further.

Sno-Isle TECH offers exposure to trades

Sno-Isle TECH is a unique public school in Everett offering high school students not only trades training, but specialized classes in everything from culinary and beautician work to dental and medical assistant training, computer animation and video game design.

Bush likes Sno-Isle’s trades training option for a couple of reasons. Not only does it expose young people to a variety of careers – “shop classes in many high schools have largely gone away,” he says – it’s attracting more young women to the trades, which will help diversify the future workforce, he says.

Variety of career options available

With construction and manufacturing increasingly technology-driven, there are more jobs that don’t require working in the rain for six months of the year, including many requiring computer or data analysis skills, Bush notes. Although there will always be a need for physical outside workers, he says, great options are available for people willing to pay their dues at the start and work into a very good career.

Candidate looking for long-term solutions

“I can’t think of a recent candidate for any political position that has put an emphasis on this, I think it’s awesome,” he says of Snohomish County Council District 2 candidate Anna Rohrbough’s focus on the need for increased trades training.

“We’re right next door to Boeing and we want to maintain our position here in the Northwest as the place to build airplanes,” Bush adds. “I think it’s great that Anna has put this at the forefront. It’s refreshing and could go a long way toward helping solve or at least address the issues facing the future of our workforce.”

Rohrbough points out that Snohomish County is rich in manufacturing, industrial and aerospace industries. As such, she says, “I am committed to strengthening our viable workforce by bridging the gaps through connected pathways to education.”

The creation of another Sno-isle Tech center, or an equivalent, would give more real options to area youth, she adds. “I would like to offer the same trade-based opportunities for those transitioning out of one trade or back into the workforce themselves. Creating more opportunities to provide and contribute to our community promotes a feeling of pride and belonging. This is essential to future of our county.”

Read about Anna Rohrbough’s background and experience and her stance on the key issues. You can also follow her campaign on Facebook.

PDC – Paid for by the Campaign to Elect Anna (R). For more information electanna.com

Talk to us

More in Marketplace

Through its telehealth services, the Sherwood team provides virtual evaluations, therapies and consultations to give parents peace of mind, and the tools they need to help their child grow.
Helping children and adults with disabilities navigate COVID

Sherwood’s early intervention, vocational supports remain critical

Why the construction industry is essential to the supply of toilet paper

Diverse, interconnected forest products industry need all components working

Business Continuity Planning During a Pandemic

As the spread of COVID-19 and measures to contain it bring drastic… Continue reading

Your easy-clean kitchen never looked so good!

Love the look of stone, but not the upkeep? Here’s the solution

Zsofia Pasztor, founder of Woodinville-based non-profit Farmer Frog, is a certified horticulturist, arborist and landscape designer who helps build community and family gardens, starting from a foundation of Cedar Grove soil and compost.
Family gardening can be fun and fruitful!

Cedar Grove soils can help you get the most out of your home planting season

Find beauty right in your garden this spring!

With contactless delivery options, Cedar Grove helps you get in your garden this spring

Lynwood Honda’s Erik Nelson and Gabe Moreno welcome vehicle shoppers to come learn whether leasing is a better choice for their next vehicle.
Time for a new vehicle? 6 reasons to look at leasing

Thinking about getting into a new vehicle but unsure whether you should… Continue reading

Using compost to create a yard to be proud of

Cedar Grove helps create a healthy, green lawn, fertile garden beds without fertilizers, pesticides

Everett spine surgeon pioneers newest robotic technology

Dr. Ali Anissipour, of Western Washington Medical Group in Everett, is the… Continue reading

Crash course: How will the bills get paid after a serious accident?

If you’re injured in a motor vehicle collision you may need treatment… Continue reading

The Remedy Tulalip budtenders have lots of great ideas for Valentine’s Day. Stop by the store to catch great love-bird specials!
Love potions and romance remedies!

This Valentine’s Day, spice things up with green flowers and adults-only chocolate

5 ways to find a mattress store you can trust

Need a new bed? Rest easy once you find the right help