If we ever wanted a ‘do over’ for our industry, this is it.  Being classified as an essential business during Covid is giving us the chance to change the narrative of our industry.    How we rise to the challenge is on us.

Being able to set or reset the expectations for your profession isn’t something everyone is gifted.  We need to take this opportunity and create the standards that will become our new normal.

One area we need to address is the need for qualified employees.

There is an enormous void that needs to be filled. Now more than ever, the need for qualified, trained, and experienced men and women to fill positions in the job market is vitally important to our nation’s economic growth.

The workforce used to be divided into two categories.  This isn’t the case anymore. It isn’t just White Collar and Blue Collar.   ‘No Collar’, ‘New Collar’ or ‘Grey Collar’; these are the jobs that require skilled workers with specialized training, but not necessarily a four-year degree.  In these uncertain times, being able to promote a stable job in high demand, good pay with benefits, and opportunities for growth is a huge advantage.  Previous views of low pay and limited opportunities are being replaced by no debt and career advancement.  Careers in the trades are just that, careers.  They need to be promoted as such, and not as a short-term alternative until the employee ‘finds their passion’.  We need to educate people that a career path does exist and show them the values and benefits of our industry.

But aside from hiring, there are other issues to address.  This article isn’t meant to point out all the changes we need to make and how to do it.  It is so much bigger than that.  Everything you read about change, whether it be change in your career or your marriage, the first step is always to look within.  You must start with yourself.   I think that holds true in this case as well.  To make changes within our industry we need to look at ourselves, and how we portray our positions.  I listened to a webinar last week by Chris Elmore and Chris Loudermilk with Service Excellence Training.  The topic was professionalism.  Todd Liles and his team want to raise the image of our industry. Chris Elmore mentioned that we haven’t always done a great job in our helping ourselves in that respect, we tend to dumb down the tech.  As hard as it was to hear that, he is correct.

Reinvention allows us to reduce the perceived stigma long associated with our professions.  This is a commitment that we all need to make.  We all have a role to play; creating the vision, implementing the changes, and spreading awareness of the new expectations.