ROCKFORD, Mich. — October 23, 2019 — Millions of skilled trades jobs currently sit empty, in large part because of low awareness and misconceptions. At the same time, 72-percent of the next-generation workforce says they don’t want a desk job. The insight was uncovered as part of the second annual survey1 commissioned by Wolverine, the Michigan-based footwear and apparel company, to quantify year-over-year trends and perceptions of the skilled trades.
Wolverine’s purpose is to support people who forge their own path and the brand is on a mission to bring awareness to the skilled trades by proving that a job in the trades can be anyone’s dream job. Roles in the trades offer the qualities ranked as most important for young people in their future jobs:
- Doing something I’m passionate about (94%);
- Being able to get a job quickly after school/training (90%);
- Doing something that will have a lasting impact (88%); and
- Having opportunities to be creative (83%).
“Not knowing enough about the skilled trades is a large barrier for why people aren’t choosing this career path,” said Andrew Shripka, vice president of marketing for Wolverine. “But the reality is that these jobs offer exactly what today’s young people are looking for. They can get out from behind a desk and find success where the work they are doing is making a lasting, meaningful impact.”
However, 65 percent still worry they’ll need to choose between following their passions and making a living. That’s why Wolverine’s Project Bootstrap enters its fifth year focused on eliminating stereotypes and showing how things you’re passionate about can be found in trades careers.
In partnership with Manhattan’s soon-to-open Torch & Crown Brewing Company, Wolverine is proving how trade jobs are dream jobs with its newest Team Wolverine members, announced last night at a sneak peek of Torch & Crown:
- Mike Betros, Tinton Falls, N.J.: Betros took the skills he learned in automotive trade school and went on to follow his passion crafting a rewarding career in brewing. From brewing beer to installing vats to managing the brewery’s entire flow — for Betros, there’s never a dull moment.
- Michelle Gooding, Parma, Idaho: Gooding ditched her 9-to-5 behind a desk and returned to her family farm to reconnect with the physical and mental work she loves. Together with her sisters, she’s taken their hops farming business to new heights.
- Shane McConnell, Sommerville, Mass.: The trades led McConnell down many different roads. But it’s his job as draft technician installing tap systems at Modern Draught that allows him to pour his heart into every restaurant and bar, establishing him as one of the coolest draft techs around.
As the new faces of the Wolverine brand, each Team Wolverine member was also surprised with $15,000 during the signing event, to put toward facilitating their success at work.
“Mike, Michelle and Shane are pursuing their dreams through their jobs, and each has found the flexibility and opportunity to create the life they wanted through the trades,” said Shripka. “At Wolverine, we believe this crew can tackle anything with their hard work and tenacious spirit. We’re honored to call them Team Wolverine, as they take the same pride in their work that we do in supporting them.”
In addition to providing the inspiration to follow their dreams, Wolverine is also helping facilitate Gen Z’s entry into the trades. Wolverine partnered with Torch & Crown to create Lace ‘Em Up Lager, a beer to support the skilled trades. Wolverine is matching the collaboration beer sales with a donation of $50,000 to the mikeroweWORKS scholarship foundation to encourage the next generation of skilled trades workers. The Lace ‘Em Up Lager is available now in cans where Torch & Crown is sold and will be available on tap at the brewery when it opens later this fall.
Founded in 2014, Wolverine’s Project Bootstrap celebrates and supports the women and men who keep our country running through their expert skills and strong work ethic. While some of the root causes of the skills gap are low awareness of and misconceptions about the trades, there has been positive movement on key measures according to this year’s survey, including:
In 2018, 69 percent of those surveyed indicated they were not familiar with careers in the skilled trades; in 2019, that figure dropped to 66%. Although not significant, it suggests a downward trend.
When asked why members of the next-gen workforce have not considered the trades more strongly, 39 percent said they just do not know enough about it compared to 45 percent in 2018 — a significant difference.
Posted October 23, 2019