There's the image problem of hard and dirty work. There's the school counselor problem of directing only losers toward trade careers. There's the must-go-to-college mentality, even among those in the industry. In a recent speech, Bob Fitzgerald, president of the Mechanical Contractors of America, acknowledged that "we do not see many of our journeymen encouraging their children to come into the trades; they encourage their children to go to college."
Then there's the demographic problem. The emerging work force is populated largely by minorities historically excluded from the skilled trades, and thus from the family traditions that perpetuated the trades in the past.