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Skilled Trades Interviews | with Jim O’Mally | An Insiders Perspectives on Skilled Trades
Today I get to sit down with Jim O’Mally, who has a unique perspective on the subject of Skilled Trades, particularly within the public school system.
Jim has used his experience and grit to teach skilled trades to our youth in public and charter schools, the state prison system, and everything in between.
This long-form interview with Jim covers several skilled trades’ topics and perspectives that you will rarely in the media.
You can access this podcast episode in audio-only or video using either of the links below:
ProcessAcademy.com – https://bit.ly/3h7s1DU
Link to Jim O’Mally’s BLOG:
Episode That Support This Topic.
I’m looking forward to this. This is This is so cool. I, I find no, I’m gonna get Jim on one of these days this is gonna be just get it
I think it’s kind of fun myself. Yeah. And I want to see what you’re doing be very effective and I think it will be.
Yeah. So let’s see, let’s start out here full disclosure, I’ve known Jim for a really long time. And I met Jim through a friend of mine who actually was working for me at the time, a guy named Bob Lohse, who was my national service manager and commissioning guy for legacy chiller systems. So many of you guys out there may have talked to Bob in the past. So Bob Lewis and I were having some discussions and I said, You know what, these days, I want to do some training on how to teach tax how to be better tax, because we’re constantly frustrated Bob and I about the fact that we couldn’t find technicians that, you know, we’re consistently technically knowledgeable, right? So anyway, what was really cool, Jim is Bob said, Hey, you got to meet Jim O’Malley. Right. So what’s really fascinating, Jim is, our lives have kind of gone full circle, because at the time when I first met you, which I don’t know, when was that 10 years ago?
You were you’re still living down there. Yeah. Down below, Bob back there and on Oak Hill, and, gosh, I don’t know. It’s, Bob and I were still working at that time. Well, we had just stopped, I guess I had to be back. 20 years ago, maybe
it is a long time. Long time ago. I remember what it was like at the time, you know, I go, man, this is so cool. When I met you, you had all these huge ideas in your background education was amazing. And what happened for me was I was just just laser focused on growing my business at the time, and I just, I just couldn’t, couldn’t just muster the time, the energy to put together an educational platform. So that’s why I’m saying, isn’t it kind of weird, everything’s kind of gone full circle. Now, we’re both talking about this. Finally, after all these years.
Yeah, it’s, you know, it’s something that that is needed to happen for a long time is, you know, for all of us in America to realize the importance of skilled trades and skill training. Yeah, it’s it’s just been ignored for so many years. And now it’s coming, coming to a head again, with shortages in labor and real skilled people.
Yeah. One of these days that we were talking the other day, when he says, I’m going to get you in Bob on. That would be a good conversation, too. So just let you guys know, Bob, and Jim, if you guys ever seen Grumpy Old Men? Yeah, you get them together. And it’s a you just don’t know what’s gonna happen with these two. And they’re both educators. And anyway, so I’m sure Bob’s gonna eventually listen to this, but like we’re talking about if I had, if I get the two of you guys on, I’m gonna have to figure out a way to put a bleep button in here somewhere.
You’d better do that. You know, I mean, unless you want to go to the X rated side of it, everyone. Don’t want to miss the putts. So you know, me the moron. So
there it goes downhill from there. So Jim, tell let’s what’s your background? So you just kind of put it out there to my guys out here. My folks what? What’s your background? I know what it is. But I’m sure that it would be a great framework for the rest of the stuff we’re gonna talk about.
Well, I kind of I, you know, my career life. I kind of did everything in Ken’s. You know, I can share 10 years there. I didn’t know I guess maybe after 10 years, I got bored at one thing, so I had to go do something else. But basically, you know, I got out of this out of high school and decided I’m going to go be a college kid. And that lasted for two semesters, and I got disgusted with trying to maintain a draft deferment that was during the Vietnam years. So I just went listed and did that anyway. And I went into the Navy and, and of course, a navy. If they don’t do anything else, they teach you trades. And so I was a fireman in the Navy firefighter. And then along with that, you always had supplemental trades. And I did all kinds of fiberglass work, and I did work in woodworking, and I ended up my last years running a carpenter shop on a repair ship. And so we did, you know, I did a couple of tours in Vietnam and did that and came out and I thought, well, you know, I guess I better do something. So I decided I’d go back to school for a while. Well, that, you know, that didn’t last too long. either. I decided, well, I’m going to have to do something else so I ended up long story short, I ended up going to work for Department of Forestry, California Department of Forestry as a fire engineer as a Cal Fire engineering and later captain. And so I did that for about 10 years and ended up in as a fire crew supervisor in a Conservation Camp there in Eldorado County, George growlers Burg in Georgetown. Anyway, I did that. And they had shops and air which we use, you know, when we weren’t firefighting, we were using the inmates to do things. And I started, I had a carpenter shop in there. And I started teaching these guys how to do a lot of this stuff. And anyway, long story short, the Department of Corrections came in and said, Hey, we want you to be a teacher. And so I said, Well, you know, I’m not, I don’t have a college degree, I’ve got some colleagues. But I don’t excuse me. The saints that gets stupid after a while, but I’ve got to turn it off. Anyway. So I did, when I started going to school to learn how to be a vocational educator, vocational teacher. And so I did that I went to Berkeley, lovely Berkeley, that was always fun, went to Berkeley on the weekends, got my teaching, credentials, all done, and I started teaching cabinet making carpentry at the garage boot camp. And I did that for a couple of years. And then I ended up going to work for the chief of education for the department down in Sacramento, because I wasn’t too far from there. This is a Department of Corrections. Yeah, Department of Corrections. So I went to work for her over the vocational programs, and ended up as the Assistant Chief over over all of the academic and vocational programs in the institutions. So I did that for about 10 years. And so I decided, well, I’ve had enough of that. So I ended up going from there, I moved over and took over the Sacramento County Regional occupation programs, which are all of the vocational training programs in, in the high schools in that in that region. So I had about like eight different school districts in their high schools. We had about if I remember, right, there was like 18, or 19 high schools that we serve. And we also had an adult population. I got involved with labor unions there, because it became quite obvious to me that for the kids to have the best chance to go into a trade in that area. And that region was through the union apprenticeship programs. And so I made a, you know, I built a relationship with the local labor council and the president of that, and we worked out a deal where we were doing pre apprenticeship training,
you know, that there was a lot of resistance at first, because some of the unions said, well, we don’t want you teaching the skills that we want to teach them and apprenticeship programs, because, quite frankly, you guys don’t know what you’re doing. You need, you know, the skills change rapidly and all your curriculum and everything is always behind. So and I agreed, you know, because we, the skill training that we had, that we were able to teach them was was remedial to say the least as to what they needed to be journeyman carpenters, or whatever. But what we did do is we built a program around pre apprenticeship, which taught not only the basic skills of what a two by four was an instance of carpenters, but also the math, and the blueprint reading and all of those kinds of things that went along with it, not to teach them not so they walk out and say I have that skill, but so they could walk in to an apprenticeship program with enough knowledge to really have, you know, kind of a leg up as they were starting their apprenticeship program. They weren’t going in there cold. A lot of kids that go into apprenticeship programs. They go in there thinking, you know, well, how hard is it? You know, they told me in high school that, you know, if I didn’t want to do anything else, I could always be a carpenter or something. No, well, how hard is it to do that every that hard, and then they flat they fall flat on their face. So by giving them this leg up with the agreement with the apprenticeship programs that the kids that we turned out of the pre apprenticeship programs would automatically go into their apprenticeship program. It was a heck of a deal for the kids. You know, apprenticeship programs and carpentry are five years and they start apprenticeships, they started half the journeyman level rate. So, you know, I was looking the other day I think I dug it out here the other day. Partner raid in Sacramento area’s about $49 an hour for journeymen
nowadays Nowadays today,
not today. Yeah. And so they would go into an apprenticeship program at 2450 an hour for kid out of high school would go in there and start at 2450 an hour, they’d started 50% of the journeyman level pay. And then every year they got a 10% raise if they met all of their requirements, which mean they had to go to classes and on weekends, and they had to work. They did their work, they worked for different masters or different carpenters Anyway, anyway, every year, they get a 10% raise so that the end of the fifth year when they would turn out as journeymen, they were making the $49 an hour. So that’s kind of how the system works? Well, it’s great. You know, I mean, in those days, it wasn’t that much in those days. I think they started at about 14 an hour, because they’re making about 28, then the journeymen. So anyway, they were never really learning the skill, along with all of the training that went with it, and getting paid for that. Right. You know, I mean, it was perfect example. And of course, we had, what seven, I guess, seven or eight different labor trades there in Sacramento area that we could place these kids with plumbing, electricians sheet metal, which is a CNR, you know, for you guys. We did all that kind of stuff and placed those kids into those programs for years. And it was very successful program still is, in fact, the Northern California construction training there in Sacramento, is still doing co working with unions and placing kids into the unions. And that was a program that I helped get started there.
Wow. Now, are they doing other things besides carpentry? Now at that school?
Yeah, Carpenter was just an example. The laborers they do they place a lot of kids with laborers. And they do you know, they do high school kids, and they do young adults. So kids that are, that are high schoolers, definitely have a shot out of they have an advantage actually, that then that the kids that are dropped out or finished high school and haven’t figured out what they want to do, they can also get in that program as young adults and get placed into the apprenticeship program. So they’re moving a lot of kids into these programs, which is great. And they still are doing that.
You know, it’s really fascinating I was
making, I’m sorry, they give God you know, all kinds of help with getting driver’s licenses GDS, that they don’t have them, so that they can because a lot of unions, you know, that they don’t want kids now that are not high school, or GED, at least, you know, so it goes on and on. Now, it just, and what those guys would do is prepare them to go into an apprenticeship program, which that’s the way to do it, you know, in this and that’s at the high school level, you know, adults that want to get into the trade, that’s a different issue, then you can you know, you really teach them the trade then know,
what, what do you think’s going on in the trending right now with with apprenticeships? Is it? Is it? Is there more, more activity and apprenticeship programs now, or less? You think
I you know, I I’m not, I’m not fresh on that, as far as what I’ve been working with them for a long time. But from what I can ascertain, yeah, they’re doing well. You know, when we first broke into it, it was it was kind of a good old boy system. Or my, my sister’s nephew needs a job or, you know, my nephew needs. So they’d go into the Union that way. Yeah. And, of course, then they would be legacies. So they would get protected. And, you know, I mean, eventually they’d at least learn how to drive a nail and whether they’re ever good carpenters or not. And now it’s kind of like we’ve sophisticated that a little bit with this pre training to get them into. We actually set up I helped. When I first retired, I started doing writing charter schools. And we actually set up Northern California, poly Keck was, was a charter school there in Sacramento, that we established with NCCT. And we ran for about a year and a half and the cursor districts and they were having a fit because we were stealing kids from them. So politically, it didn’t work out. But it was on its way of being a pretty good technical high school. We base it around, you know, years ago. I know in my my stepdad. Before World War Two and everything. He would tell me that he was a graduate of Fresno of Fresno polychaete academy or Fresno public high school, I guess they call it then. And what it was is they got their basic education skills, reading, writing, math, and then they learned to trade. And his trade was plumbing. So when he came out of high school, you not only had a high school diploma with the basics, but he also had a trade. War Two started and all the trades went to hell. Anyway, he finally got back to his trade after, what, four and a half years, five years in the Army But we kind of built that technical that charter school around that theory. And it was it was really, really taken off gangbusters. But in those days, charter schools were in the public education realm where, you know, not really well, like, and then of course, we, you know, he had to fight the politics to get anything done. It just, it didn’t work out. I mean, we couldn’t keep it going. But it was, we could still work today.
It seems there’s this this natural conflict, if you will, that doesn’t need to be there, in my opinion, between, you know, the, the brick and mortar educators, the the assembly line, you know, kid goes through grade school, goes through high school, and there just seems to be a mindset of the teachers and counselors, and even parents who have a impression in their mind about what the college experience was like when they went to college, you know, maybe a few decades ago, and that that whole assembly line, if you will, for some reason, along the way, the attitude about skilled trades, learning, you know, learning how to make something or fix something or whatever. It’s really, it’s, it’s kind of turned into the consolation prize, right? So if nothing else works out, if you, you know, you drop out of college or whatever, and you have no other options, or you feel like you don’t have any other options, you can always go be a plumber, or you always can go be an auto mechanic. And where do you think that originated? Where did that mindset come from that still, in my opinion, still exist today?
Well, you know, I think the attitude came from I came from the era when, when trades and everything we’re, we’re kind of down looked down upon as far as as well, yeah. Like you said, you know, if you can’t, if you’re not smart enough to be fancy businessman, you can always, you know, go learn how to how to be a plumber or something like that, and the sophistication of of trades is it was lost in and that’s why that’s when the labor unions finally figured out that they needed to establish really formal apprenticeship programs. You say, Well, I go to, you know, I went to I went to Penn State for four years, and I got a degree in liberal arts from Penn State, and, and so I’m an educated person. Well, what’s the difference between that, and I can tell you the difference, but I mean, what really is the difference between that, and a kid that goes into an apprenticeship program for five years, and completes that and comes out as a journeyman carpenter? Bottom line is, is that, first of all, he or she were making a living or making money anyway, through that college, that five years of their college, ran it, and they had a trade and a skill. And they also belong to an organization that was going to get them work way. What did you have when you come out of college? Nothing. You’re on your own. You got a degree, I got a piece of paper. Right? You know, and, and I’m not, I’m not banging colleagues, I was in education. So obviously, I had to do all the college stuff to be able to do what I needed to do in education. But the bottom line was, is that I worked in the skilled training area where some of these guys are, are academicians, and they don’t really, they don’t really grasp what what skilled trades are all about. Until recently, you know, I’m here in Colorado, and Grand Junction, and we have a large school district here now. And I was my daughter is works in the school as a computer teacher. Anyway, so a lot of the teachers come over whenever talking about they’re having a big curriculum, change in the school district, which they’ve done. And I said, Oh, yeah, well, what are they going to do? And she’s all they’re coming up with something totally new that that, you know, that very few people have even tried or having been doing and it’s called competency based education. I said, What is education? I said, so you don’t know what vocational education is, right? That is competency based education. It has been ever forever. Yeah. You’re not given a theory to learn and to regurgitate. You’re given a skill that you have to demonstrate that base. And I told him, I said, you know, I applaud you guys for finally getting there. But how come it’s taken so long to realize that the idea of coming out of school with knowledge is wonderful and should still there, but also having the skill to be able to apply that knowledge. Right? Have that. What have you got? You got? You got somebody that can sit down and think and write. But what else can they do? Yeah, when they go to work in business or whatever? What’s the first thing they have to? Do? They put them with some guy to teach him how to do it. Yeah. Yeah. So it’s it’s a, it’s it’s coming around, but it’s slow because of the old traditions. And of course, quite frankly, you know, it’s a lot of tradition is being protected by their unions, their teachers, unions.
Yeah, and we’re gonna get into that in a minute, because I want to, I want to talk about your blog post, because I will get into your blog. And you know, what I’m seeing. And I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to get into the economics and the numbers of it, right. And if you think about it from an economic standpoint, the there’s and this is not a secret, the media doesn’t cover it, but the trajectory of increased costs to go to college, for example, and again, I’m not against college, but I’m just, I’m just saying that there’s there’s a lot of stuff that’s being missed here. So you look at over time, the cost, the annual increase of tuition, and it doesn’t matter if it’s a JC I think the smartest way to go is go into a JC get your A stuff out of the way, and then you pop up, pop over to a regular four year college and then figure out finish out your junior and senior year, that’s the most cost effective way to do it. But even then, if you model that out, you’ll see that the costs, the annualized cost have have consistently exceeded what cost of living is. And nowadays, it’s not even close. So in other words, the cost of the for your education continues to go up. And what I believe is happening, and I think you might have touched on this, and we’ll talk about this a little bit more in depth in a minute. But I think that there’s a machine, there’s this big machine that that colleges, they’ve got a lot of people involved, you’ve got the academic community, they all see the writing on the wall, they’re looking at the same data, they know that the costs are going up for whatever reason. And the parents and the students by the whist school loans are continuing to pay for it. So there’s going to be a natural progression to say, oh, trades. Now, you don’t want to do that. You need this, right. And it just seems that that’s contributing to it. In other words, the value of a four year degree is being amplified. And the value of being in skilled trades continues to be this is nothing new, continues to be depressed, pushed down as a secondary thing. I mean, what do you think about that? My hypothesis here?
I think you’re I think you’re right on, I think it’s I think there has been some movement to the realization that academics won’t fix your leaky sink. You know, you have to have people to do that. And quite frankly, some of those people are making more money than some of the people that have college degrees.
Hey, guys, quick announcement, if you have not stopped into our website, at skill, trade rescue calm, please do that. On the homepage. Here, you will see that we have the Join the movement email list. If you haven’t signed up, please consider doing that. We have some amazing guests lined up for the podcast, I’m going to be getting the stories out of successful technicians and business owners in skilled trades. These are not just HVAC people there’s going to people be from across the skilled trade spectrum. And my hope is that I’m going to be able to draw out of these people the things that have worked in their careers amazingly well. And the things that if they had a chance to talk to their younger self, what they would tell them not to do. So I want to share all that stuff with you. And if you sign up, you’re going to be the first to know when we drop those new podcast episodes. Also coming soon. We have the BST workshop, it’s a five day automated email workshop. However, you’re going to give content to us through that workshop. You’re going to get one on one feedback from our structures, instructors, and we’re looking to better your career. I’ve been teaching the BST process for many, many years, about two decades one on one, and I’m going to be trying to do that to the masses through this workshop. It’s totally free. All you have to do sign up as soon as you do that. You’ll get alerts on your email as soon as these new podcasts come in, as well as the BST workshop, so check it out. I will put a link to the website on the show notes for this episode today. So check it out.
Alive lot of your skilled tradesmen are making a lot more money than your school teachers, for example, school teachers are not getting paid. I don’t think the school teachers are being paid what they should it’d be paid on the other hand, you know, they there’s still a lot of space between those with his college degree and those without those without that are in skilled trades are kind of diminishing that that gap a lot because they’re they’re making pretty good money I look at look at the issue right down today and today’s issue of truck drivers driving is is is a skill trade. Unfortunately in some cases, there’s not a lot of training goes along with it. A lot of there’s a lot of classes out there that will get the student a truck driver license, but the actual training on on driving trucks and mountains and stuff like that still is lacking there’s still a lot area to do that but truck drivers today, or at least the ones that aren’t setting up an Ottawa summer. Truck drivers today. Your your older guys, your senior guys that are out there on the road, and they’re willing to do the work and stay on the road. They’re knocking down fingers 100,000 a year now. That’s a lot of money for a truck.
Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Interesting.
So yeah, I think this is a really good segue into your, your blog post, your very first blog post, I think, um, yeah,
there’s a lot of different, but there’s a lot of things that are beginning to push these thoughts together. Yeah, there’s a realization right now, that, basically, there’s a realization that the folks that are, that are in skilled trades are becoming a lot more important to us, then, even as each year goes by, because those are the academicians, those are the big academic, you know, brains and everything, still can’t do anything. You know, they can’t help themselves. And so that’s, that’s where that that’s where that relationship comes from, from Voc Ed, to, to look at, you know, all of those different issues as far as changes.
Do you think COVID Has has awakened America a little bit too? You know, that, that college? Or what’s going on in the schools may be detrimental to our youth? Do you think do you think that’s one of the very few positive things that might come out of COVID?
Yeah, I really do. I, you know, COVID is COVID was horrible, obviously. And we lost a lot of great people, because it COVID I know that. But really, the bottom line is, is that it opened eyes, look at the the parents in back east and Virginia and places like that, that have realized that their their public school districts believe that they shouldn’t have anything to say about what their kids are being taught. I’m thinking, Whoa, wait a minute, you know, when when I was in the business, the first thing that we established for each trade that we were teaching was an advisory committee of the people from that trade. And tell us what we should be teaching and what we should be doing. We don’t decide what is going to be taught, they would help us do that. And the same thing, and in, you know, in high schools, in grammar, schools, whatever the parent, the parents, the customer, you know, if you go back to Deming, and all of that, you know, the thing is, is to is to serve the customer where the customer is the parent, the product is the kid, and the parent controls that product, not the school district. Parent, you know, and what irritates me the most is that irritating, but I what I think frustrates me the most, is that if parents would, and I think they’re beginning to but if parents realize that they control the school district, and they can control it immediately. You know, I used to tell my principals when I was in the business, you know, we’re looking at at 50. Those days, it was like $54 a day for every little button that’s in every seat.
I’m looking at in your article right here. Yeah. So those of you that are listening to this podcast, what I’m talking about here is Jim’s blog posts from January 13. It’s called the education dilemma. That’s what we’re talking about now. And I’ll put a link and we’ll go over more about the blog at the end of the podcast, but I’ll put a link to this, this blog post as well as the blog in general. And so So yeah, that’s what I’m looking at here, Jim. So you’re saying if a school doesn’t gets $10,000 per student per year that comes out to $56 a day that that that school or district gets for that, like you say button the seat,
right? That’s the average daily attendance is what they get paid. That was what the, the amount would be. And that’s it. That’s it. 10,000 years, some of these districts are spending a lot more than that. Yeah, you can see that I’m Erin, little further on down. If you had 300 kids, and you had you had 300 parents, and 300 kids or less parents, but more kids or whatever. But anyway, you had 300 kids at 56 bucks a day, and you pull them out. You said okay, they’re not coming to school today, all 300 of these kids are not coming to school today tell you guys do it the way we want it done. Oh, it’d be losing $17,000 A day in funding. And they can’t stand that very long. Before they got to lay off a few administrators and some teachers and things like that. That’s that’s the problem. The parents actually can if they were organized as the teachers union is, then they could control the school district by saying all right, all parents, the next week, we’re not sending our kids to school. Now, what are you gonna do? You’re gonna do it our way or what?
So is that? Are these statistics based on the entire, you know, from from grade school all the way through high school? Or does it? Does it change?
Public? Pretty much a public school system? K 12? Yeah. Funding is different, but it’s still they’re still, like in California, the most of your colleges are supplemented by the state. Right. So it’s still a funding issue there. If they’re not there, they don’t have the student that’s a problem you have in colleges, in my opinion, right now is that they have to compete for students. You know, and it used to be, you know, if you wanted to go to Harvard, you better be right there at the top of all your classes and get the opportunity, then you still might not get in. Today, if you got the money. Come on in baby, bring it on in.
Yeah, especially if you know how to how to how to row a boat or something like that. It’s amazing. Exactly.
You know, you can see that. In education. The the problem that we have I know verse as well, you know, the teachers, the teachers union, has to negotiate with administration to get its pay raises and all that kind of thing on and get what it wants some of the curriculum it wants to teach and all this that it’s got to negotiate through the administration. And I say that well, that’s fine. But where’s the administration come from?
Yeah, they’re all teachers, right?
There teachers that have gone into administration. And I used to, I used to have to go to the negotiations, you know, the union negotiations, or pay raises every every two, three years, when I was working in the business. And I had never I and all those years, I’ve never seen the teachers get demand, they demand whatever pay raise they want, but I’ve never seen them ever get the 5% pay raise that the administration didn’t get to? Yeah. So you know, what kind of negotiation is that? Yeah.
Well, you know, I think it’s real interesting. The reason why I brought up COVID, and I wanted to get your insight on that is, I’m on the same page with you, Jim, I think what is happening here is these because of COVID, these kids were studying at home, you know, they’re doing online courses. And I think that that, you know, was good to keep everybody safe. You know, it was a huge sacrifice by the, for the parents, because you have two working parents, and you can’t really get ahead in this United States nowadays, unless you got two incomes coming in. That’s just how it is. So there was a big burden on that, but we all you know, suck it up and got it done. And his parents are in there, you know, and they happen to look over the shoulder of their kids once in a while and see what’s actually being, you know, taught and they’re getting a lot more than, you know, STEM courses, they’re getting, you know, in my opinion, indoctrination, you know, they’re getting these social things that I guess they’re talking about the CRT stuff. And I think that really bothered a big chunk of the population. And they’re like, Hmm, you know, I’m paying for this stuff.
Well, and it was a you know, it was one of the byproducts of COVID And is that the American parents have become able to see just what kind of stuff they were teaching their kids. Yeah, you know, it seems to me like, first of all, public education had to go to online education. And quite frankly, most of them didn’t know what they were doing. If you want to see an effective online education program. You You need to look at some of the charter schools that are online because they know how to do it. For years, you need to look at some of the colleges that are online that are doing it. Phoenix, University of Phoenix, all of those. I mean, those are the kinds of they know how to do it. But here we got a public education system. And the COVID hits, and we shut everything down until the teachers, okay, go on line and teach. Right? Oh, yeah, well, they have, you know, I mean, they didn’t do a good job. For what they did do is they instead of trying to teach the principles of their curriculum and math, or whatever it might be, they did know that they could still teach social engineering stuff like CRT, and that kind of stuff, and work on the kids. And the problem with that was is that mom and mom, especially were standing behind the kids going, Oh, my. Yeah, my kids. Yeah. So that, and I think that’s opened a lot of eyes. Yeah, yeah. In this country? You know, the problem is, is that, quite frankly, in our society, we have a lot of parents that have kids that, you know, I mean, yeah, the old Mama Bear syndrome, you know, don’t mess with my kid, because you’re gonna be messing with Mama Bear. And that is a reality. And it always will be the problem is, is that maybe that’s a good percentage of our kids, maybe over half. We also have another group of kids that their parents don’t care about anything, but getting them out of the damn house for the day. Yeah. And, you know, they don’t care what they’re doing. And some of them don’t even care if they go to school. Right. I mean, there’s that group too. And unfortunately, for that group, they’re going to get even worse and worse off. Because they don’t have a mama bear looking over him. And yeah, so it’s, it’s kind of a two edged sword when it comes to that COVID, though is, is really opened the eyes of a lot of people to a lot of things, not only schools and what the schools are teaching, but they’re beginning to look at what this democratic socialist movement in America is all about. Getting to see that, that, that this is not this is not America, this is not what we want, you know, and at least a big chunk of them. Yeah, you still got another large chunk that believes the other way. So Right. You know, it’s always it’s always going to be an argument to have to deal with, but
well, you know, I think the majority, regardless of where you come down on your political persuasions, I think that the parents that are engaged, the ones that aren’t engaged, you know, that that’s, that gets into a whole different subject, but let’s just say the ones that are engaged. I believe in America still today that parents really want the best for their kids, they really do. Sure. And I think that what’s being missed, and it’s not necessarily a parent’s fault, I just think that everybody gets into their habits, they’re doing their day, they’re going about doing what they’re doing. And everybody thinks, you know, like people that are in their 30s and 40s. They’re their perspective is how the educational process was when they were in school, go save for college, you know, they they have a certain mindset of what the college experience was like for them. And I think that what’s happened is is the the actual experience boots on the ground, what’s actually happening in the public schools, what’s actually happening in the colleges is much much different then than it was just maybe 1015 years ago, right? Oh, yeah. So I guess what I’m thinking is is that making making people aware of things have changed may may encourage these parents who are ultimately in charge at least for a while to take a closer look just take another closer look at what’s happening and and base their decision making on what they actually see what’s actually happening right now. You know, and I think that may be getting missed and that brings in the whole thing social media and the news cycle and you know, all that stuff. So it’s it’s a very complicated suit. Hey guys, I have an exciting announcement. We just recently made some updates to our three most popular online courses at process Tiller Academy comm if you’re a technician, that’s looking to improve your skills a little bit, maybe get some specialized training to be of more value to your customers and your employer. Or if you are an employer and contractor that is looking to augment your existing in house training with online training that can be accessible from any device. This is a really great opportunity. Just go to process chiller academy.com to scroll down on the homepage and you will see the course area. If you go into the course page, you will see that we have currently for limited time. We have a promo coat chiller Pro that will save you 25% on any one of these courses, I hope you check it out. And I’m looking forward to seeing you in class.
There are a few colleges out there Hillsdale, for example University, a couple of them like that, that are that are trying to teach kids the the basic the skills that they need to have. Right? I’m trying to re engineer them. Yeah, liberty, I think Liberty University is more of a religious base. But it’s it’s still focused on on learning and teaching skills in areas that are, you know, their academic, but still, the traditional skills versus the social engineering stuff. Yeah. And it’s been going on for a long time, Martin, it’s when I was in the business, I could see the indoctrination going on in classrooms. I couldn’t do anything about it. But I accept complaint, which I’m good at. But, you know, it’s still, it was still happening. And it still is happening. In fact, I see it growing every year. Yeah, I think I think COVID might have been something that brought light to where it was, I think if we hadn’t had something like this happen in our history, that parents would continue to believe that Oh, everything’s fine at school. And, you know, right now we’re looking at a country that’s sorely divided, based on on the progressive, if you will, ideal ideology. That’s that’s being portrayed by a lot of our young people. And where did that come from? It came out of our school system, right? We’ve we’ve already our teachers in our school system. So there are teachers and teachers do what they’re told to do. They teach a curriculum they’re told to teach. But basically, the education of our kids is indoctrinated to a three, almost three, maybe two, anyway, generations of kids that are coming out that are now adults, and young, and parents and stuff like that young parents that are saying, well, we need this democratic socialism, otherwise America is gonna die the way it is.
You know, whether we are going to be hopefully, we’re going to be able to strike that agreement between both sides, and bring America back to where it was working together instead of so. So dis divided as it is today. Yeah. Otherwise, we’re, we’re in trouble.
Well, I want to I want to shift gears here a little bit, but I don’t think I’m going to get through half the stuff I want to talk to talk to you about. So I want to switch gears and you listen to the the latest podcast that was that I published the other day. It was skilled trades versus College.
Uh huh. Yeah. Very good.
Thank you. Yeah. And what what I want to do is I want to drill down into one thing that I just, the more I look at this, the, the more it just amazes me. And so I want to look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website here. And what I was amazed that was the first thing I did in my research is I went in, I said, Okay, how many? How many organizations reference bls.gov, the wage data that they put out, right, and right, what I found is that many, not all but many of the news media sources, many of the colleges, even some high school counseling folks, they refer to this data very heavily, right. So I said, All right. All right. So let’s do this. I want to look at a trade I know really well. And I know a lot of people in this in the HVAC refrigeration trade. That’s where I came up, right? And so I took that as my case study. And I went through here and I looked at, you know, one of the glaring things so what I’m looking at is the, the code for nine dash nine, zero to one. So if you if you Google that it’ll come up with us. And so this is heating, air conditioning, refrigeration mechanics, or also known as service techs, and installers. So the first glittering thing is the difference in wage base between a mechanic ie service tech and installer is significantly different. So that that’s the first thing that just blew my mind. And then going down here, so that that was the glaring one and then the first box that you come to it says, Okay, in this sampling, they have 344,020 We’ll just call them individuals that fit in this big pot and the mean wage Is 2568 per hour, right? Yeah. And I’m like, No, that can’t be right. So are 2568 per hour comes to 53,004 10. Annual mean now mean is middle the road basically in English. So then the next part, the next box down here, they give you the same thing they say they give you a spread, so they’ll give you a percentile of mean. So mean. And again, it’s interesting, the mean is different or median is different. So I guess it’s calculated different. I’m not a statistician, but I can tell you that this looks really weird to me. The the lower 10% Is 1534 an hour and the top 90 per 90 percentile. In other words, the best of the best in this classification is 3886. Right. And that’s a national average. Right? I can tell you, I mean, if you’re if you’re an employer, which I’ve been, and I know a lot of employers, if they could find somebody, for 38, a journeymen technician for 38 bucks an hour, with a few exceptions, and there’s a few states that you know, the wages are relatively low, they would be jumping up and down happy. Go, yeah. 30 bucks an hour is is? I don’t know, for a service tech. I don’t know much about installers. I didn’t really, you know, I employed mostly, you know, service technicians. I just anyway, so that’s, so I’m gonna kind of pause that one. And then. So what I did is I did a very unscientific poll at on LinkedIn. And this is, this is really interesting. So what I did is I put a poll out on LinkedIn, you should be able to, you can see that. Yeah. And unfortunately, the way I mean, it’s really cool the way LinkedIn does that, that they allow you to do this, but I was only able to put four different questions in or four different variables into the poll. And I basically said, if you if you have a journeymen service technician, United States, what, you know, in this went out to set in service technicians and went out to business and went out to everybody in my network, which is mostly business owners and technicians. So 81% says that they pay over $35 an hour. Okay. Yeah. So what’s interesting is that the, I believe, I believe that, that the actual wages weren’t even just getting to 5050 is in the United States is gonna be pretty close to 40 bucks an hour. Right? Yeah. I mean, just extrapolate it. And I don’t,
I think average in some areas is around. It’s, it’s in the 30s. But yeah, it’s pretty close. You know? I mean, it’s, and you know, he also I think you got to, you got to figure that, that they’re taking when they when they come up? Well, first of all their stuff is, is old, brand new, all that when they come up with with these numbers, they’re including union non union, everybody,
right? Well, that would even make the numbers even more weird, because so I actually I don’t I delve into where they how they actually collect this data, which is really interesting. There’s an FAQ, and I’m not going to bore you with this. But there’s an FAQ that that answers the question, Well, where do you come up with this data? And basically, what they do is it’s just a huge extrapolation. So what they do is they send out mailers to businesses at random. And there’s a lot to it, but the the Reader’s Digest is they send out mailers and then then do follow up calls on to verify numbers, right. Well, yeah. I mean, if you’ve, I was in business many, many years, and I can’t remember getting a call. And even if I did, I was so busy. I didn’t have time to tell them anything. You know? Yeah. So anyway, what my next My next plan on this project? Well, let me let me get actually, before I go on that tell me what your impression is of what I just shared. Just curious.
Well, you know, I, like I said, I think you’re on the right track. It’s just that the federal data from the, you know, this website, everything else is old. I mean, there’s no way they can keep up with it. Number two, and number two, the number three, they tried to take the two big chop of the thing, you know, and that would be it would be better if the Feds were to have the state labor people do individual and then average that out, which I think they do some of that but I mean, it’s just it’s okay for benchmark to start your research but the reality is, is that, you know, if you’re going to do that another issue and journey apprenticeships and everything else is what we call the parallel programs. And there are a lot of there are a lot of training programs that pretend to be, you know, regular laborer, apprenticeship programs that are not affiliated with the building trades in the Building Trades Council. They’re just training people and turning them out and they go out and they concern themselves as journeymen plumbers, but they’re not associated with the real life of plumbers, and then all of a sudden, you know, sanral, they got the same skill level as a journeyman. Well, no, they don’t. And the journeyman, the real journeyman gets paid a lot more than than the parallel guy does. Right? That that kind of screws up their, their numbers? Yeah, I think as far as digging this out, Your Honor, you’re on the right track. It’s the, like I said, it’s more of a state issue. I wish the states would turn out this kind of data instead of the feds, right. A lot more current, but more a lot more down to what today is?
Yeah. Or maybe partnering with ADP, you know, one of these these big payroll services. Right, right, they get all the data? Yep. You know, it wouldn’t nowadays, I mean, 2022, here, they should be able to, yeah, they should be able to, with all the technology around, get more accurate information. You know what? My next plan, Jim is, in the near future here on the website, I’m working, I partner with Microsoft 365. And I’ve got some of their best and brightest trying to help me, we’re going to put together a real poll, a national poll. And we’re gonna ask it, we’re going to ask a bunch of questions. And I’m going to put it out there with the network, it’s going to be unscientific. So I’m not going to be you know, charging anything for whatever. But what I want, what I want to see in real time, is what’s going on by region, like from from the actual technicians and the business owners, exactly what’s going on. And I got to fill in the differences between what’s put out being put out and what’s real reality is going to be two different things. And the reason why I even think this is relevant, why I think this is something to check out, is that one of the, one of the big headwinds that we’ve got in skilled trades, is, it’s super easy to point to low wages. And it’s easy to say, that I think is part of the narrative that we’re fighting against why we can’t get young people in the trades, right? college counselors and people that have influence on these young people are saying, Look, you know, if you’re a doctor, lawyer, or bachelor’s degree in this area, this is what you’re going to make. And, you know, and yeah, you can do a skilled trade, that’s a good fallback position, but this is what you’re gonna make. Right? And that that latter one, if the numbers are incorrect, it that’s going to drive these people to college, and, you know, nothing again, not that I’m against college, but it seems to me that, you know, if, if the individual is not meant for college, you got to give them the right information, you know,
well, and then, you know, they have there’s been a lot of improvement in the college areas with the degrees, but there’s still a lot of what I call crap degrees out there. You know, I get a bachelor’s degree in animal husbandry of the tsetse fly or something like that. Come on people. What skill is that? Yeah. If you go to if you go to college and learn to be a doctor, obviously, I won’t say lawyer, because I’m not sure what they go to school for. But, you know, if you look at if you looked at a skill, a college degree that is skill based, or something that you had, I went into education, I had to take education courses, I had to That’s it. You know, but if you were you look at these guys that are going through and learning all of the medical stuff, they’re getting degrees in nursing and stuff like that. There’s a lot of hands on, you’re getting skills, you’re getting a college degree in nursing, you’re getting some skills. theory based degrees are okay, if you’re going to work in a think tank or something, but they’re still not a real hands on skill training that’s going on and a lot of college degrees. And I think that’s cheapening them. I mean, I think that’s, that’s putting putting them in a category that’s not going to help the student much. But it also could be something that the student can get easily.
So what do you think, Jim? What’s your Reader’s Digest on what business owners can do? You know, skilled trade and suit enthusiast people that have a vested interest in skilled trades. What can we all do collectively to start to change the that mindset, the hearts and minds of skilled trades? How do we, how do we unearth the value of skilled trades in the minds of people? You know, what, where it’s at right now? What’s the any ideas not do that?
Well, I think I think a lot of it is is marketing. Martin. I mean, it’s, you know, they’re always used to be a standard joke, I guess you could call it in trades, that if you wanted to be a master of a certain trade, like a master plumber, what you did is you learn how to do some simple things, with all kinds of different terminology. And then you didn’t share the terminology with anybody, so they didn’t know what you were doing. Yeah. You know, a lot of that was the way it wasn’t a passive kind of protected. There’s their trays. Yeah, cap to discuss I think now. Now, even now, today is even more important than it’s ever been. We got to get out there and sell the fact that America needs even as much and even not even, maybe even more than that a bunch of college degree people, we need people that can do and know how to do the work, they have the skills to do the things that America needs. Why are we in a situation today? That I know a lot of it is money. But why are we in a situation today where we’re outsourcing everything to countries that are and now we’re dependent upon them to give us the stuff that we should have been making ourselves? Yeah. Why are we that way? Because we’re not teaching skills. We’re teaching theory. And and, you know, people got to realize that this country was not built on bachelor’s degrees. It was built by hand. Yeah. There wasn’t a person in the, in the, you know, 17 1800s, it didn’t know how to do things with their hands to build a house or whatever. Today, I got, you know, got a call. I gotta get my, you know, I used to have a 12 year old grandson now he’s 20. But I used to get it get my 12 year old grandson and fix the damn computer? Because I don’t know how to do it. Yeah, I didn’t have that skill. Now, a lot of kids have that skill now, and then go to college and learn even more about it. But the bottom line, is that good. They tear it down and put it back together.
Well, yeah, and the other thing that just doesn’t get talked about enough, Jim is the fact that a lot of these degrees there, especially computer science, now, the with, you know, artificial intelligence coming online, all these really amazing technology, technology breakthroughs coming through. You know, it’s, it’s conceivable that a lot of these graduates in the next few years, they may get a great job working for one of the big companies here, let’s say coder, you know, computer science person, a database expert, whatever it is, game designer, and that’s what a lot of these guys want to do realize kids want to do. The kids do. Yeah, there’s a, there’s a good possibility that those skills can be outsourced. Right. Right now, and one of the things that never gets talked about is a lot of these nation states, they pay for their kids college educations. Right. Right. So what I mean, right out of the gate are people are, you know, these college graduates are at a disadvantage because they got a big debt they got to pay or their parents do. Yeah. And they get they get outsourced because they’re competing with, with people that can do it a lot cheaper, and they don’t have a college debt per se. Right. So, you know, it’s just worth, you know, they’re at a disadvantage. And again, for me, you know, I’m a proponent of skilled trades, but you know, you’re not going to outsource a 500 ton chiller. That thing sitting where it’s sitting, and you got to have somebody to repair it, you’re not going to have somebody to come in flying from another country at half the rate and fix it typically. I mean, I guess that happens, but I’ve never heard of it happening. So
well in you know, you’re not going to push a button and have a house built either. You know, you got to go there. Yeah, you’re not going to have any of these huge skyscrapers and stuff built by theorist you’re going to have to have hands on to get it done. Yeah, it scares people. I can remember in the old days of doing, you know, every two weeks or whenever I had to go to board meetings and stuff like that, and present. If it was my turn, I had to present whatever we were doing and vocab and whatever we were doing, and I also had all of the court and community schools and we talked about what we were doing to the board. And I can remember one night, I thought they were going to have a fifth because I had An agreement with ironworkers union in Sacramento. And they were building the federal courthouse there in Sacramento. And so I go out there and I present I said, now we’ve got five kids in there working there have been placed that are learning how to be getting into the apprenticeship program, but they’re not being paid yet. They’re high school kids. And they’re over there at the working on the federal courthouse. So what are they doing? I said, walking iron, they said, What do you mean walking there? And they said, they’re walking iron. They’re 810 storeys, and they’re walking iron. Oh, my God, what are you gonna do? You got kids? Hey, that’s the job. Yeah, that’s you have to learn that skill. They got all the safety stuff, you know, they won’t fall too far. But you know, I mean, those are the kinds of things and dealing with with boards that in those days, we’re so indoctrinated into the academic areas instead of the vocation or they don’t understand. All right. It just goes on and on. I had a Sheriff’s Office programs where we train kids to get ready to go into the sheriff’s office when they were old enough. And to be juniors and stuff. Well, they had to shoot, you know, so I would, I would put in a purchase request and then take it to the board before they’d love me to do it. By, you know, 10,000 rounds of 38 caliber or whatever. And then I’d have to go fight for what do you need this for? Well, because they’re, they want to be cops. Cops have to know how to shoot. So they have to go to the range and they have to shoot guns. Oh, I don’t know if we want our kids shooting guns. Well, if they want to be cops are gonna have to, you know, and of course it comes down to go back to that indoctrination thing, or you don’t want them to shoot guns because you don’t like guns? Or because you think they’re too young to handle it in. All right. So if those are the kinds of things that we were dealing with then and I’m sure now it’s probably even worse, I don’t know it could be better I don’t know but it’s
so it gym. Marketing I
think is the key Martin I think we’ve got to we’ve got to get even if if labor unions and and parallels and everybody gets together, they’ve got to start marketing. The idea that and making it easier for the kids to go right straight into a pre apprenticeship program or even to a you know, a regular training program. Get more kids into the trades, otherwise, this country’s gonna be in trouble if it tries to do everything with a bachelor’s degree. It’s not going to work. Yeah, no kidding. Hey,
before we wrap up, I can’t believe we’ve been talking almost an hour actually over an hour now. We might have to meet this apart does have to do to. Uh, let’s see. Well, I want to talk about your your blog here. So I’ve got an up on the screen here. It’s called the senior thoughts at least you didn’t call a senior moment.
Now. No, I have senior moments too. But I’m a senior. I’m just something you know, I said here and I listen to news and I watch TV and I watch you know work drive around town look and see what’s going on. And you get you thinking about well, why are we doing this? Or what is this? How does this work? You know?
So how many posts you got? Is that your grandson on there? That’s my
Believe it or not, that’s my great grandson about two years ago. Oh, dude, you’re old? Yeah, no.
Let’s see. So man, you got a few you got a few posts here. I guess I’m a little bit behind.
I try to do one or two a week if once a while I get too busy to throw in the end. But you know, I have to take a shot at things ever once.
I like it you begin all your all your posts with with I was just thinking about? Yeah, that’s, that’s good. So if I’m okay, what I’ll do is I’ll put the link to your blog on the show notes. Good. Yeah. And let’s see your contact. So if people want to comment Whoa, what happened here? I see. Okay, so people can contact you on the contact pages just roll down the bottom there and first name last name. Easy peasy. Get some great pictures in here man. Used to have a beard. I got rid of it. Yeah, you’re looking pretty respectable these days chip. You really are.
I’m getting ready for healthcare.
So that is it. I hope you enjoyed this episode. I very much look forward to continuing to connect with you. Please don’t hesitate to send me messages on LinkedIn. I’m on there all the time. Or you can reach out to me on my email. I’m at M King at process Tiller Academy calm and until next week. When I give you the next installment I wish you a great week and I We’ll connect up with you again soon take care of now.