“High schools gauge their success on how many students go to college, and I don’t think that’s a good gauge of success. I would gauge success on how well they’re able to provide for themselves and their family. If it’s going to college, so be it, but why aren’t the trades a bigger option?”

Ryan Myers of National Construction Workforce (NCW) is the youngest member on IEC’s board of directors. Because of this, and working at a staffing agency, he brings a fresh perspective to the electrical field and to the organization. His experience in high school and college are more relevant now ever.

“80-90% of my high school went to college,” he continued. “I wish I would have taken a couple of years and worked in the field, and then, if I still wanted to go to college, I would’ve.” Myers received his Bachelor’s degree in Marketing from Butler, but discussed the impact of student loans and wonders how things would be different if he had known about the opportunities to get into the trades when he was younger.

Because of his experience and his age, he feels that he has an advantage when speaking to high school students and younger members of the workforce.

“I feel like I can speak to young people and tell them that this path has a lot of opportunity. Let me tell you about it and see if you’re interested. I’ve seen the opportunity that exists in construction. I’m not blowing smoke up your butt. You can become an electrician – if you excel and work really hard for four years – and become a journeyman. You can shop yourself around because anyone will take you if you have skill and work hard. If you work hard, people will promote you. In four to six years you can probably be a foreman, or a lead man on site. You’re gonna make $26-$30 an hour, depending on the contractor. But it’s very achievable. In 10 years you can become a project manager . The opportunity is real.”`

In 2012, Ryan began working with NCW as an intern. This blossomed into a full time position in recruiting, and then into becoming a field supervisor. What Ryan told us about this time in the recruitment portion of NCW is particularly interesting. As a staffing company, recruiters are looking for workers in an array of trades: electrical, carpentry, HVAC, etc. Once they find someone that can fit the bill for a job that a contractor (the client) needs staffing for, they go through orientation, any training that they’ve had is verified, and they get to work. They run advertising on a multitude of platforms such LinkedIN, Monster, Indeed, etc.

One of the major misconceptions about staffing companies is that at the end of a job, the employee is simply out of work and without a job. However, Ryan wanted to set the record straight. Usually, when a job is finished, because contractors are so busy, and skilled workers are in high demand, another job will be lined up very quickly. There’s no shortage of work right now with the construction industry as active as it is right now.

So, what does NCW look for when it comes to hiring?

“Someone’s that’s proven they’re committed, that they understand the company vision,” Ryan told us. “[Someone who]works hard, stays off their phone, comes to work on time, work a full day, and if you’re respectful towards your peers and supervisor, you’ll go a long way. As much as I wish that was common, it’s not. Skill you can learn, hard work you can’t.”

Hard work and dedication have been a theme in many contractor spotlight, amplifying its importance in the trades.

If you’re interested in a job in construction, check out the Indianapolis location of NCW here.

And remember. “Skill you can learn, but hard work you can’t.”