How did you get started in the skilled trades?
In high school I was involved with Tiger Manufacturing – a fully functioning, student-run machine shop in Newberg, Oregon. Initially, I was interested in engineering, but many of my peers were too. I decided to be different and pursue a career in the skilled trades. I also realized I enjoy being outdoors instead of inside all day. I learned about Advanced American’s Schweiger Memorial Scholarship and decided to apply. I was accepted and began an apprenticeship as an operator. The scholarship helped me kick start my future. Now, I’m a Yard Associate for Ness Campbell Crane + Rigging and am working toward my long-term career goals.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
In 10 years, I’d like to be a crane operator. A crane is an impressive piece of equipment. It’s a huge machine with many capabilities that takes a certain skillset to operate. Right now, I am part of a team that sets them up and moves them to locations. Recently, I got to go to Idaho to help move a crane. It was the first time I traveled for work, and I really enjoyed getting to visit new places with my team. For me, it’s always a proud moment to see a crane standing that you helped build. As a yard associate, I am learning a lot about teamwork. With such large machinery, we have to have each other’s back. In the next 10 years, I look forward to continuing to develop my skillset and establishing myself in construction. I hope to leave a positive mark on the industry.
How can others get into the skilled trades?
My biggest piece of advice for others is to put yourself out there. Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo. In school, the trades are often frowned upon, and college is pushed, which made me not want to go to college at all. I’m fortunate my high school had shop classes that introduced me to a career in the skilled trades. It’s important to use all the resources available to you. I worked with my teachers to customize a class that catered towards students interested in the trades. I also learned about the different scholarships and apprenticeship opportunities through my teachers. At 20, I’m in a job I love with great pay, perks and no college debt. I hope other kids learn the value of a career in construction.
Ethan Crowley is a yard associate with Ness Campbell Crane + Rigging and two-time Schweiger Memorial Scholarship recipient. Learn more about Advanced American’s scholarship program: https://www.advanced-american.com/scholarship/.