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Unveiling the Untapped Gold Mine: The Advantages of Trades over College



In the landscape of career choices, the traditional narrative often centers around the pursuit of a college degree as the key to success. However, a quiet revolution is underway, shining a spotlight on the advantages of working in the trades. Choosing a trade offers a unique pathway—one that involves learning on the job, earning while learning, and potentially making more money upon completing an apprenticeship program than one might with a college degree.

1. Learning on the Job: Real-World Experience Matters

In the world of trades, education is hands-on and immediate. Apprenticeships provide an opportunity to learn in the field, acquiring practical skills that are immediately applicable to the job. This real-world experience is invaluable, offering a different kind of education—one that is not confined to textbooks but is shaped by the challenges and intricacies of the actual work environment.

2. Earning While Learning: Breaking Free from Student Debt

One of the glaring advantages of pursuing a trade is the ability to earn while learning. Unlike the traditional college path, where students often accumulate significant debt before even entering the workforce, trade apprenticeships offer a chance to earn a wage from day one. This not only makes education more accessible but also enables individuals to establish financial independence early in their careers.

3. Making More Money Post-Apprenticeship: A Financial Leap

Upon completing an apprenticeship program, individuals in the trades often find themselves in a position to earn a substantial income. Trades such as welding, plumbing, electrical work, and carpentry are in high demand, and skilled professionals are compensated accordingly. The combination of real-world experience and specialized skills positions trade workers as indispensable assets in various industries, leading to higher earning potential.

4. Filling the Skills Gap: Meeting the Demand

As technology continues to advance, the demand for skilled tradespeople is on the rise. There is a notable skills gap in various trades, and those who choose this path find themselves in a favorable position. As a skilled tradesperson, you become part of a select group, meeting the growing demand for expertise that cannot be easily automated.

5. Career Stability and Versatility: Adapting to Change

Trades offer not only financial rewards but also stability and versatility. In times of economic uncertainty, certain trades remain resilient, as their services are consistently required. Additionally, the skills acquired in a trade are often transferable, allowing individuals to adapt to changing industries or explore different avenues within their chosen field.

Forging a Path to Success

The advantages of working in the trades paint a compelling picture for those seeking an alternative to the traditional college route. Learning on the job, earning while learning, and the potential for lucrative post-apprenticeship earnings showcase the unique benefits of pursuing a trade. As society continues to evolve, embracing the diversity of career paths available, the trades emerge not just as a practical choice but as a pathway to success that, for many, is a better fit than the conventional college experience. The hidden gold mine of the trades beckons those ready to forge their own path to a fulfilling and prosperous career.

Air Index Updates

According to OSHA:
For wildfire smoke pollutant, use the Air Quality Index isa measurement of fine particles in the air.  An AQI over 150 is considered unhealthy for the general population.  An AQI over 101 can be unhealthy for sensitive workers with asthma and other conditions.

The employer must provide a sufficient number of respirators for employee use on a voluntary basis when the current AQI for PM2.5 is equal to or greater than 151 but does not exceed 500. The employer must require employees to use respirators when the current AQI for PM2.5 is greater than 500.

Current AQI ratings vary around New York State. You can access AQI for New York here: State AQI |
Most regions are well above 150 as of right now, therefore employer must provide respirators for field workers upon request.

Merit Alliance designated as Apprenticeship Ambassador

Syracuse, NY – Merit Apprenticeship Alliance is proud to share that it was selected by the U.S. Department of Labor as one of the first of 207 officials and organizations from across the country as an Apprenticeship Ambassador.

Ambassadors share their experiences and help champion apprenticeship opportunities. There are only six ambassadors in New York State and Merit Alliance is the first to represent the construction trades.

“We are so proud to be among the first of Apprenticeship Ambassadors. Our mission is to promote sustainable careers through registered apprenticeship training. At its core, we are helping unemployed and underemployed individuals from across our diverse communities to focus on developing a career that they can rely upon to provide for themselves and their families.” says Penny Hazer, President of Merit Apprenticeship Alliance.

As an Apprenticeship Ambassador Merit Alliance has joined the rest of the first cohort in supporting the DOL’s goals of modernizing, diversifying, and expanding Registered Apprenticeship to support the success of American workers, employers, and communities across the country.

“Apprenticeship is key to developing a skilled workforce. It bridges the gap and gives qualified candidates the opportunity to earn while they learn. We look forward to working with the U.S. Department of Labor and our fellow Ambassadors to continue promoting apprenticeship as part of this important initiative.” – Stacy Miller, Director of Training and Curriculum of the Merit Alliance Construction Training Institute.

The Merit Apprenticeship Alliance and the rest of the inaugural group have pledged to host a combined 3,367 outreach and recruitment activities, 892 training sessions, 717 promotional meetings, and develop 460 new registered apprenticeship programs.