Where Trades Contractors Find Great Jobsite Products

Jobsite-products.com is a new-ish website that offers excellent jobsite products.

Jobsite Products offers the very best prices on Jobox, Delta, TopCon and a number of other brnds, thanks to their exclusive distributorship with those companies. Once you get your contracting business up and running, we recommend that you check out Jobsite Products. Look at some of their best products:\

Their tool boxes come in a wide variety of sizes including piano boxes.

We especially love their impressive variety of truck tool boxes, including innerside boxes, crossover tool boxes, wheelwell boxes, topside boxes and tool storage built for almost any part of your truck bed or pickup box.

Their brands include Delta truck boxes, Jobox tool boxes, TopCon total stations and a wide variety of other products for any construction needs. Excellent resource for anything you’ll need once you graduate from a construction or HVACR trade school!.


Cliff Clavin Approves of Trade Schools!

John Ratzenberger, still most famous as postman Cliff Clavin on Cheers, spoke recently at the Log Cabin, a banquet and meeting house in Holyoake Mass., to advocate the value of skilled trades.

Ratzenberger, speaking to a group of local businesses, lamented that skilled trades are getting left behind by society and discounted as a career option by too many young people.  He asked employers at the meeting to take on groups of teenagers for summer camps internships that would teach them skills.

“Everything we are and everything we do, every single day depends on one person’s ability to put a nut and a bolt together. That is the most important job in America and we’re losing it,” Ratzenberger told the crowd. He added that the value placed on “working with your hands is dying” and that this can be a great way to learn some common sense.

You can watch Ratzenberger’s address below:

Cliff Clavin and John Ratzenberger

Cliff Clavin was the pedantic US mail carrier and best buddy of “No-o-o-o-o-orm!” who often interrupted conversations with “little known facts.” Contrary to Ratzenberger’s opinion of skilled trades, Cliff’s clear choice of career was the US Postal Service, believing implicitly that this was man’s highest calling. When he met Frasier’s career-cop dad Martin Crane, Cliff’s response was, “Couldn’t pass the mail carrier’s exam?”

Ratzenberger has actually had a lucrative, very successful post-Cheers career voicing numerous memorable characters in Disney-Pixar animated films, including all three Toy Story movies (including the one coming out this summer), Monsters, Inc. and Bugs Life, among others.


Skilled Trade Jobs: Where are we going, where have we been?

So, if you believe some people we are now on our way out of the recession. The skilled trades job market seems to hum along as well as it ever has. A few recent news stories paint a picture of the present and future of skilled trades jobs.

The Guardian complains about government policy in the UK

A story in the Guardian – albeit, this is the Guardian – claims to uncover an issue that has been hampering policy there for several years: the persistent miscalculation of how employment will change by the year 2020 and what impact societal and other changes should be anticipated and how they should affect present politics. The article, in part, cites Ed Balls, the schools secretary, who says in part, that the future of Britain’s job market holds an “increasing demand for higher skills, with very few jobs available for people with low or no skills”.

The article offers a portrati of some young job seekers who have acquired skills but no strong job prospects. And on the other hand, “sceptics of the government’s policy [say the] predictions are groundless. There is no evidence, they say, that the number of mainly low-paid jobs that recruit young people with few or no skills or qualifications is going to shrink.”

Canada: more training, more demand and even some appreciation

In Canada, trade schools like the one offered at Sir Sanford Fleming College are successfully running students through the program and growing steadily. And a survey of Ottawa Valley businesses found that there is a growing shortage of skilled trades workers. Meanwhile, visiting St. John’s Newfoundland, Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised local construction and promised  that the Government will continue investment in Newfoundland’s employment and training programs.  Among other things, he told the crowd: “If construction professionals adopt new technologies and stay current with their expertise, they should have long, busy and successful careers,” the Prime Minister said.

Your neighbourhood

Leave a note to tell me and others how things are in your neck of the woods. Are there lots of skilled trades jobs? Do they pay well? Is there still a recession affecting you? Drop a comment and unless it’s spam I’ll allow it, to see if we can engage some discussion on the latest about skilled trades jobs.

And where have I been?

I would be remiss if I did not note that I have not blogged in an incredibly long time. The simple fact is that this is one of numerous gigs I have and I have numerous other commitments that (frankly) pay better and more immediately. You can bet that I will still be checking in now and then and blogging when there is proper blogging to do.


Green Jobs Not Necessarily Good Jobs

Many young people enter the job market wanting to ‘make a difference.’ This has probably been the case since the dawn of time: people want to do “good work.” But good work does not always mean a “good job,” of course, and in fact there are many employers who sell underpaying and in some case “sweatshop” jobs to young idealists who believe they are making a difference. In a wild open market, these employers are able to win contracts thanks to their lowered costs.

A report released in February examines the green economy, just as the US government has earmarked some stimulus money for so-called green jobs that include, for example, home updates that save energy, along with jobs in the solar and wind farm industries. The report’s author, Good Jobs First Research Director Philip Mattera, said, “Many proponents of green development assume that the result will be good jobs. We tested that assumption and found it is not always valid.”

While many companies in the green sector treat employees with respect and pay them fairly, there were examples in different sectors of the green economy that showed less fairness to workers. Mattera cites the example of “Two wind energy manufacturing plants where workers initiated union organizing drives in response to issues such as poor safety conditions and then faced union-busting campaigns by management.” He also noted that there are U.S. wind and solar manufacturing firms that weaken the job security of their workers by opening parallel plants in overseas low-wage havens like China, as well as Mexico.

A report by Labor Notes (http://labornotes.org/) offers similar cautions. Tiffany van Eyck says that community-labor partnerships in Newark, Los Angeles, and Seattle are rising to the occasion to make sure that green jobs in the stimulus package end up in the right hands, that unions are recognized and workers are compensated fairly. These community-labor partnerships are “creating a blueprint to help building trades unions dig into the green economy, while bringing new workers, many of them women and people of color, into the unions.”

An alliance in Puget Sound, Washington has been able to win a bill that stipulates “prevailing wage criteria.” This essentially means that stimulus money must go to projects that pay fair wages.

Previously, unions were critical of training models used in some federally subsidized weatherization projects. These favoured entry-level candidates who only took dumbed-down classes on specific tasks. As Union spokesman Bill Hayden put it, “when that work is done, there’s no other work for them.”

While they do acquire a little experience and do receive training,  only a few ever make it into a union or are able to develop their careers. “We don’t want to see more green sweatshops,” Hayden says.

The concern across the country is that people are able to get into a union pipeline, so they can truly make a decent living at green jobs.

And in the end, argue the unions, it is the consumer and the taxpayer who benefit from seeing their money spent best, on people qualified to do good work (people with “good jobs”).

As Good Jobs First Executive Director Greg LeRoy says, “Many states and localities already apply job quality standards to companies receiving job subsidies or public contracts by federal as well as state and local agencies.” The Good Jobs First report, says LeRoy, “only wants to ensure this.”

To learn more, see:


Local trade schools supported by Lowes and others

The construction trades program at Fort Scott Community College got a little extra help last week.

The program had recently received a selection of Kobalt tools, part of the new Tough Tools for Cool Schools program. The program is a partnership between Lowe’s, Kobalt Tools and the Skills USA organization. The FSCC program is part of the more than 500 Skills USA building trades and renovation programs in post-secondary institutions across the United States. These programs have received a total of $300,000 worth of tools for use in classrooms.

“Lowe’s is proud to work with Kobalt Tools and Skills USA to continue to prepare America’s future skilled work force and help students excel in their chosen career paths,” said Lowe’s President and Chairman of Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, Larry Stone. “With Kobalt tools in their toolbox, and the education and knowledge from Skills USA and their schools, we believe students will be ready to succeed when they enter the work force.”

Lowes donated the tools. Along with Kobalt Tools and Skills USA, Lowes is helping the next generation of skilled trade professionals across the nation.

“We’re honored,” said Chris Sterrett, the director of the construction trades program at FSCC. “It felt good to have the recognition. We’re having an impact on students’ lives. Lowe’s is one of many corporate partners to step up and participate in what we’re doing,” he added. “We’ve had a good response from business and industry.”

Skills USA Executive Director Timothy Lawrence said the tool donations will help many young people who plan to enter the construction industry in the future.

“The donation of Kobalt tools to Skills USA’s building trades labs nationwide will help prepare the next generation of workers and leaders for the challenging and competitive construction workforce of the 21st century,” he said. “The youth who will benefit from this generous donation will build and maintain our homes, schools and commercial structures in the future. Through the Tough Tools for Cool Schools program, Skills USA, Lowe’s and our technical training schools are building something together that will truly make a lasting impact.”

The national Tough Tools for Cool Schools program began in March.


Women in Trades comes to New Brunswick

Women in Trades and Technology hosted its first New Brunswick networking group event in St. John, yesterday, at the New Brunswick Museum. A number of women in the trades or technology-related jobs attended.


Women are talking up the trades

Two ‘women in the skilled trades’ events highlighted the week.

In St. Catherines Ontario (Canada), Marissa McTasney was one of the featured speakers at the Niagara Region’s first skilled trades inspiration session. She had worked in construction until two years ago, when she started her own clothing line, a line of women’s workwear.

“(Women in trades) are setting their hours, their rates. They get to dictate what they’re paid,” she told the small crowd.

“Knowing that you can make a decent income is an attraction. Besides that, it stems from a need, like a single female homeowner who suddenly has a plumbing leak and they want to repair it,” YWCA job developer Graves chimed in.

“There are just so many opportunites,” says McTasney. Her line of womens’ workwear can be found at major retailers including Home Depot, Wal-Mart and Zellers.

Meanwhile in Portland, Oregon, ths year’s Women in Trades Career Fair offered young women hands-on experience and straight-out encouragement. Women as young as 14 took a look at opportunities for women in the skilled trades. “I felt like this was a real opportunity to do something different,” said Mindy Luis. “I’m definitely going to look into trade school as an option, when I graduate from high school.”

“I talked to a firefighter who found out about the trades when she came here 17 years ago,” said Connie Ashbrook, executive director of Oregon Tradeswomen. “She came to one of the first fairs and then became a carpenter.”


Competing in the skilled trades

This summer’s World Skills Competition in Calgary means that people all over the world are training and otherwise gearing up to compete for gold, silver and bronze.  Canada Skills is holding its national showdown May 20 – 23 in Charlottetown, PEI, approximately 100 days ahead of the ‘Olympics of skilled trades.’ For agenda, logistics and registration information visit the Canadian Skills Competition at www.skills2009.ca.

Meanwhile, in Charleston, West Virginia, they are competing just for the fun of it.  Mike Finlayson is one of a number of apprentices competing in the West Virginia State Pipe Trades annual apprenticeship contest at the Civic Center. Says Finlayson, “I went to Carver Career Center, did well there, got into this and never looked back.”

The competitions allow apprentices and experienced tradesmen to network, learn from each other and about each other. Jim Cartwright, a veteran, says that apprenticeships offer “a great opportunity for young men and women. They go in at fifty percent, thirteen dollars an hour. And, in five years, they double that to twenty six. Great health care and pension. I’ve been doing this for thirty years and I love it.”


Missouri Women in Trades wins grant

Missouri Women In Trades, an organization that empowers women through careers in the construction trades recently received the $25,000 Daughters of Charity Foundation of St. Louis award. Congratulations, MWIT!


Prejudices against trades and career schools persist

Prejudices persist against tech training and trade schools, say critics of some recent moves by Michigan lawmakers. Read more.