Apprenticeships lead to high demand careers


Alexis Smith

Art by Lexie Smith

Joni Beauchamp, Opinions Editor

Graduating early is an opportunity to get a head start on your future, and while many seniors simply take time off to find work and prepare for future expenses, other options, such as apprenticeships and other work opportunities are also available. These options can prepare you for your future career or even prepare you to start that career almost immediately after whatever amount of time you spend learning or gaining experience in your preferred field.

One senior getting a head start on his future career is Tony Danigole. After graduating in December, Danigole plans on heading to trade school to learn about plumbing.

“I was just looking for trades and I was like, I kind of like plumbing stuff the most out of everything else, so it was just why not and it was in Chicago, where I wanted to go too,” Danigole said.

Plumbing is currently an extremely in demand field, and the benefits are endless. Along with this long term decision comes job security, since it’s incredibly difficult to replace someone in such a specialized field. The average hourly wage upon entry is about $15 per hour, but with a shortage of workers and the right skills, that $15 can easily turn into an hourly wage of about $26 or more.

Another example of a long term career path that instead promises an entry hourly wage of about $20 an hour is the path that senior Gary Pyle intends to take. “I’m working two full time jobs to start my career as a mechanic and get some extra cash,” Pyle said. He said he isn’t planning on going as far as Chicago though.

“I’m staying here in Omaha and I’m working as a detailer at Baxter of Volkswagen in La Vista,” Pyle said.

Currently, trade positions are in high demand as a worker shortage plagues the industry. More than 10 million jobs are currently available in the United States, including those in the trade industry, but with a lower enrollment rate in two year colleges and universities, there just haven’t been enough people to fill those spaces.

More than 40 percent of high school graduates apply for immediate enrollment in a four year college as opposed to a two year, which includes trade or vocational school, which is at about 20 percent.

Every new worker counts, and as the enrollment rate of vocational schools recovers from the hit it took in the ‘90s, many are able to find jobs in these skilled trades easier than ever.

Choosing your future career path can be very daunting, but these seniors have made sure to think it through and carefully make these important decisions for themselves, especially when they initially decided to graduate in December in the first place.

“I just had all of these priorities and I wanted to get a job and money and so I wanted to go to trade school opposed to college and have some free time with that,” Danigole said.

“Honestly I was just ready to move on and be done with high school,” Pyle said. “It depends on your mindset to be honest. This works for some people and doesn’t for others, so it depends on what you want to do with your life and where you’re going,” he said.

Available for many different fields, apprenticeships are paid work experiences that tend to lead to a full time job in a variety of fields. While apprenticeships are usually for things such as carpentry or plumbing, there are also apprenticeships for things such as healthcare, food preparation, or even hairdressing.

While each opportunity leads you down a different path, they’re all able to set you up for, and can lead to solid work opportunities in the future.