Sole Education Fall 2019: A Case for the Trades

This week we asked our students to discuss what fascinates them most about their trade, and explain in more detail why they are pursuing a career in the skilled trades. Let’s dive in!

Riley: Helping Others

Not knowing much about the HVAC field prior to coming to DMACC, I had no Sole Education Fall 2019: Riley Schwabidea how many jobs were available and how many different career opportunities were open. In the HVAC  industry, you are learning something new every day,  and having to keep up with industry standards.

There is a lot of money to be made in this industry. On average, a $40,000 salary is to be expected from someone starting in the industry. A trained tech with years of experience can earn up to 60k-80k per year. 

I am pursuing a career in the HVAC industry because I enjoy working with my hands and talking to homeowners that are happy to see me. This beats sitting at a desk all day looking at a computer, waiting to go home.

I enjoy helping people and making their lives a little easier.    

Michael: Problem-Solving

It took me a while to convincingly answer a question friends and family seemed to ask me all the time, “Why did you want to become a plumber?”

I always knew I wanted to work in the trades, and most often I focused on a licensed trade. But, initially I could not describe my passion for a repeatable sound bite, so those curious would easily understand my rationale. Then one day on the job, I overheard a customer speaking to a colleague. This person asked my teammate if we had any ideas on how to “solve their problem.” At that moment I realized while I chose Plumbing:  I LOVE to solve problems!

A career in plumbing has afforded me the opportunity to work in an environment where I am required to diagnose and solve problems. I’m often working with a teammate on complex mechanical systems, designed to help people live more comfortable, safe, and efficient lives.

Every day I am required to actively listen, brainstorm solutions and (hopefully) successfully implement those solutions. There is nothing better than that feeling of daily accomplishment accompanied by the recognition of knowing your solution helped a person in need.

One story has stayed with me to this day:

We were called to a home with no heat in one bedroom. This family just had their first child and unfortunately could not determine why every room in their home was warm except for their new daughter’s bedroom. After asking many questions and actively listening, my boss and I assessed the situation, diagnosed the problem through troubleshooting and determined two potential solutions, each with a different cost.

The homeowner made their decision and we fixed the problem the following week. I can still remember how happy they were to have “solved the problem.” That was a great day; using experience and knowledge to help a family with a basic need.

So now, when someone asks me, “why did you decide to become a plumber?” I simply say… I LOVE helping people, and I LOVE problem-solving.


Research, read,  and learn as much as you can about these mechanical advancements. These boilers have become smarter and easier than ever!

Follow along with our students’ progress here.
Learn more about the Generation T movement here.