Huffpost College

Lackluster Employment Market Increases Interest In Trades

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Faced with an unresponsive job market, grads decorated with degrees in everything from philosophy to engineering to French aren't giving up. They're just switching gears and channeling their energy into trades -- and benefiting from it, the Washington Post reports.

Take the story of Rateeluck Pauvpiromquan:

[Pauvpiromquan] decided to become an electrician when the only jobs she found after graduating from St. Mary's College in 2001 with a degree in the philosophy of religion were in coffee shops and hotels. Her friends, who have gone on to get master's degrees or doctorates, are proud of her.

"They tell me they're intrigued, amazed and proud they know a woman electrician," she said. "I don't understand the idea that if you go to college, manual labor is beneath you. The critical thinking and communication skills I learned in college are absolutely crucial to getting our work done. It's critical thinking, not just, 'I lift heavy objects.' "

Even though trade fields yield consistent, well-paying work, they have long existed with stigmas attached to them. As one economist told the Post, "It's hard to get high school counselors to point anyone but their not-very-good students, or the ones in trouble, toward construction."

But apprenticeships can pay healthy salaries -- more than one would make these days working in the field they studied in college -- and the currently economy could bring trades their due. Jarrad Taylor studied engineering and creative writing at Penn State University, but eventually took a job as a plumber. Seven years later, he's still at it -- and proud. And he told the Post that he has more discretionary income than many of his friends.

What do you think? Would you consider working in a trade? Leave a comment with your take.