What did your path into the skilled trades look like?
I didn’t go right from high school to the skilled trades. I actually jumped into college first, but after too many bills and uncertainty about my future I decided to make the switch. And, boy, am I glad I did. I’ve been a carpenter apprentice with PNCI for about four years now. It was an incredibly smooth process. I applied, interviewed and was placed in an apprenticeship right away. Now, I’m in my 8th term and on track to graduate in the next year or so.
What are the benefits of the being in the trades?
I can’t say enough about the great pay and health benefits. Making a livable wage at a young age is incredibly motivating. I’m also learning skills that I will have with me forever. I have a better appreciation for the ins and outs of construction. It’s empowering to know I am playing a part in building America. Best of all, it’s so easy to get started. I highly encourage anyone considering the skilled trades to make the leap. It’s so worth it.
What do you wish more people knew about the industry?
There’s a certain stigma around jobsites being toxic and unprofessional. In my experience, I’ve only ever been a part of healthy and positive environments. We are an industry of professionals performing highly complex tasks. There’s also a strong sense of comradery and teamwork that you might not find in other work settings. If you have a strong work ethic and are willing to hustle, you’ll find a home in the skilled trades.
Avery McEntire is a carpenter apprentice with PNCI and a Schweiger Memorial Scholarship recipient. Learn more about a career in carpentry at build-oregon.com/skilled-trade/carpenter/ (bonus: make $24-43/hr).