While college was considered, he said he ultimately didn’t want the cost and didn’t want to go to school for the extra four years.
“I’m not really a school person but I am willing to go to school for trade school because it’s not as long as college,” Gwynne said.
Ryan Haskins, training coordinator of the Local Pipefitters 162, a plumbing and HVAC union that accepts and trains people on the job through apprenticeships, said he has seen an increase in the last 18 months in students who are interested in that work.
Pay is a big factor in recruitment, he said. Haskins said some people, especially managers, are making up to $128,000 per year working in plumbing and HVAC on job sites, and the union is trying to recruit people because of an expected need for workers in constructing new Honda and Intel plants in central and southwest Ohio.
Apprentices also get paid while working. Haskins said the starting pay for the Local 162 is more than $30 an hour with benefits.
Construction workers, truck drivers, plumbers and electricians are all on Ohio’s Top Job list, which is put together by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s Office of Workforce Transformation and lists careers that pay relatively well and in which the state expects to see more demand.
Whitfield, a DECA senior, is choosing between trade school to become a mechanic and going to college to become an engineer. He said he may end up going to college first, then to trade school, or the other way around.
Whitfield said the main point in his decision is his happiness. The work and the money would make him happy as an engineer, he said, but working on cars is something he loves.
“I feel like I will enjoy myself more, if I just end up being a mechanic. Either way, I’ll be happy with what I’m doing,” he said.