At a time when high school students across the country are making decisions about their future, Wolverine, the boot and clothing brand, is focused on driving awareness around the untapped opportunity of skilled trade careers, and inspiring young people to learn more about the skilled trades as a path. 

In partnership with unCommon Construction — a nonprofit organization that works with high school apprentices to build houses and gain technical, professional and personal skills — Wolverine is launching a special-edition collaboration collection to benefit high school students interested in pursuing careers in the skilled trades. The initiative is part of Wolverine’s Project Bootstrap program, which has celebrated and supported those choosing to pursue a path in the skilled trades through a variety of efforts including scholarships and educational awareness initiatives since 2014. 

As the skills gap continues to grow, the demand for trades workers has never been greater. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, marketplace demand for skilled trades will continue growing through 2030, resulting in nearly 400,000 new jobs. However, according to a new Wolverine survey, the pipeline of new trades professionals doesn’t align with the demand.

Discerned from the survey:

• While almost three-quarters (72%) of current high school students believe it’s important to consider alternative options to a traditional 4-year college, just 30% of students have considered vocational/trade schools. 
• More than half (51%) say “I don’t know enough about it” as their reason for not considering enrolling. 
• At the same time, four in five (79%) students said they believe vocational skills should be taught in high schools, indicating interest in learning more about the skills needed for careers in the trades.

As part of this initiative, the unCommon Construction apprentices collaborated with the bootmaker to develop a new unCommon Construction boot, designed after months spent wearing boots on the job, learning practical trade skills and building houses in New Orleans.

By Rural Builder Staff