Blue collar jobs and careers are nothing at all like their white collar counterparts. Virtually everything – other than the fact that you can definitely make a successful career of either – is completely different. The education, the training, the nature of the work involved – how you schedule, how you prepare, how you plan – can be 180 degrees opposite from the white collar world.

As a parent, it is extremely important that you realize there is an enormous calling for skilled laborers and technicians in specific blue collar related professions. The demand is there. The need is there. Actually, now more than ever. The serious need for qualified, trained, and experienced men and women to fill certain blue collar positions in the job market is vitally important to our nation’s economic growth. This is a fact that cannot be ignored and disregarded.

It is equally important – and at the same time, incredibly unfortunate – that there is a stigma concerning the entry and the subsequent involvement of an individual in a blue collar profession.

Many parents will gasp in terror when their high school age son or daughter informs them that they’re considering either working for, or becoming, a contractor…..examples being an electrician, plumber or HVACR (Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning & Refrigeration) technician, mechanic, landscaper, or heavy equipment operator. What if your child confesses one day that they’re more interested in working outside in the fresh air instead of being behind a desk at an assigned office cubicle 8 hours a day? What if your son or daughter finishes high school and just decide they want to work? Period.

That‘s right. What if they just decide that what they really want to do is to go to work to earn money to support themselves and gain financial independence in the process? No college or university degree. No diploma. No massive student loan debt. They can start accumulating wealth now and not just sometime later on.

Is any of this wrong? After all, it is their life and their future. Or is it wrong simply because it is not the type of work you envisioned them doing in the future? Do you look at white collar occupations as those being held solely by highly educated professionals and blue collar occupations as being something…..less? Less positive recognition from society – less pay – less benefits – less chance for advancement – less of a career?

Blue collar related professions that are absolutely crucial to the overall functioning of society are typically viewed by many people as being “beneath” the intellectual skill level of any white collar position. In their minds there is no comparison. In their minds a white collar position requires the individual to use their mind – a blue collar position only requires the individual to use their muscle – and not much else. Little to no gray matter required.

Repair or replace…..?

Highly technical and complex mechanical, electrical, and electronic machinery, systems, and installations of countless types and variations…..heat pumps, furnaces, boilers, refrigeration units, turbines, generators, transformers, diesel and internal combustion engines used in any form of modern transportation – automotive, marine, aviation, power equipment –  residential, commercial, industrial, or military – personal or business related – ultimately require maintenance and repair or possibly even replacement. Old, outdated, obsolete, delicate, highly sensitive components, multiple moving parts that wear over time – will eventually break down and fail.

Infrastructure…..Bridges, tunnels, roads, dams, skyscrapers, refineries, stadiums, arenas, airports, shipyards, hydroelectric, coal, and nuclear power plants/power distribution grids, underground utilities, communications installations, cell towers….. all need to be built and maintained – repaired or replaced. The process is ongoing. It never ends.

Enter the blue collar professions – their ‘hands-on’ skillset, their expertise, their specialization.

These are the individuals that build and care for our world. Literally.