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Here’s why the trades can be a great career choice


By Jeffrey P. DiSabatino

As parents, we constantly think of our children’s futures, including our hopes that they achieve fulfillment and success in whatever career path they choose to pursue. When guiding your sons or daughters on career choices that could lead to such fulfillment and success, consider encouraging them to explore careers in the construction industry.

Hodgson Vo-Tech seniors Jimmy Gutierrez and Eric Wright learn from Jeff DiSabatino at the Avenue North site. | Photo by Ron Dubick

Right now, there is a significant demand for skilled workers at a national level, as well as a local level. In particular, in Delaware, there is expected to be a need for approximately 3,500 people to fill job openings in the construction industry by 2025. When considering that, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are currently 16,500 people employed in the construction industry in Delaware, it is clear that there will be high demand in the industry and, with it, much opportunity.

The average annual salary for those in the construction industry is currently $51,400, which equates to roughly $25 per hour. This is a strong, livable wage in Delaware. This strong wage, along with the high demand for skilled workers in the trades, combines to offer a stable and in-demand career in an industry that prides itself on building and maintaining the communities in which we all live and work.

The trades are more than a job — they are a career. When starting out in the trades —which can be directly out of high school, trade school or college — your child would start learning while earning on day one. Indeed, employers are primarily looking for prospective employees who demonstrate that they are motivated, dependable and willing to work hard —the rest can be taught!

For most entering the trades, technical skills will be taught via on-the-job training as well as formal schooling that is called an “apprenticeship program.” An apprenticeship program usually lasts four years and is accompanied by structured minimum pay increases that employers must honor for each year completed. Safety training also starts on day one with safety orientation and OSHA-required training to help minimize exposure to any potential hazards that may be associated with a particular trade.

Over the course of his or her career in the construction industry, your child could work his or her way from an entry-level position to journeyperson, foreperson, supervisor and, ultimately, to manager or even owner. There are also opportunities outside of the trades but still within the construction industry, such as maintenance technicians, inspectors, project managers, estimators, architects and engineers, which will likewise be in high demand.

The growth potential inherent in a construction career is significant. If you would like to learn more about potential careers in the trades, please visit workforcedelaware.com, where you can review descriptions of each trade, career path and average salary. Great opportunity awaits, as the construction industry is an excellent option for your child to achieve a stable and fulfilling career.

Jeffrey P. DiSabatino is vice president of construction for DiSabatino Construction Co. and the 2019 chairman of Associated Builders & Contractors Delaware.

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