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Opinion How states can support the skilled trades

Carpentry student Jose Santos Jr. takes measurements before cutting a piece of wood on Dec. 16, 2021, at Williamson College of the Trades in Media, Pa.
Carpentry student Jose Santos Jr. takes measurements before cutting a piece of wood on Dec. 16, 2021, at Williamson College of the Trades in Media, Pa. (Saquan Stimpson/Hechinger Report)

I was thrilled to see the value of trades training for young adults highlighted in the Jan. 3 Education article “Long disparaged, education for skilled trades is making a comeback.”  However, there are many systemic barriers to access trades training and jobs, and it’s important to note that increasing the trades workforce also requires education and apprenticeship opportunities be widely available to diverse audiences. With fewer roadblocks to enter the field, perhaps more young adults — particularly those presently underrepresented in the industry — would consider this path. 

I hope to see all states follow the example of Tennessee and Indiana by investing in this vital infrastructure and supporting all people who want to pursue a career in the trades. 

Natalie Henshaw, Baltimore

The writer is the program manager of the national nonprofit Campaign for Historic Trades.

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