National Tradesmen Day 2014
NATIONAL TRADESMEN DAY CELEBRATES THE ROLE OF TRADESMEN ACROSS MANY INDUSTRIES
First of all, let me wish you a very happy National Tradesmen Day! Here at Pro Tool Reviews, we’re taking the time to look at the history, evolution, and education of tradesmen. We had the chance to chat with Greg Palese, Vice-President of Marketing for Klein Tools, and he graciously gave us a look at the way they view tradesmen and how Klein supports them.
Tradesmen have been around for a long time and have been instrumental in the development and construction of our country. According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, a tradesman can be defined as “a person who works in a job that requires specific skills or training.” Klein Tools has been serving tradesmen since 1857 and knows that they are much more than that. Greg tells us that “they are the foundation of all that we have built and they continue to be the fuel that provides growth.”
Clearly, a lot has changed since 1857. We can fly, for starters. Computers are in virtually every home and smart phones in the majority of people’s pockets. Time has a way of requiring change in the workplace. We asked Greg how the role of the tradesman has changed in the last 157 years that Klein has been serving them. “When that first telegraph lineman brought his broken side-cutting pliers to Mathias Klein the “communications industry” amounted to nothing more than a few bare wires strung on lean telegraph poles. So much has changed since then and tradesmen have been there every step of the way, constantly learning, adapting, growing and succeeding.”
With education being a hot button topic around so many circles theses days, I wanted to know just what kind of educational background is required to enter into the professional tradesman line of work. The very first thing that Greg mentioned was that it is more than just educational background. It is a mindset that makes the tradesman what he is. “Students that have positive attitudes, a commitment to excel and a desire to leave a lasting impact, might be right for the trades. Many students have an inquisitiveness or sense of curiosity about things and are usually the ones tinkering with cars or taking things apart to see how they work.”
One of the things that is working against the trades right now is the mentality that every student should be ready for and attending a 4 year college or university. There are many excellent trade schools out there, the income potential is excellent, and the satisfaction of owning your own business is a real possibility. Yet for some reason, our leaders have adopted this mindset that trade schools are somehow less desirable , and by extension, the tradesmen careers themselves.
Here’s the way Greg sees it: “We have to shift the paradigm of thought that college is the only path to success. U.S. manufacturing jobs are going unfilled because employers can’t find qualified workers. There is a critical need for Americans who can create, build, and manufacture products. We have to promote the trades as a solid career choice with strong earnings, job security and potential for growth to young people starting in junior high.”
This is an attitude that Klein backs up with action. When it comes to supporting tradesman education and workforce, Greg let us in on what Klein does. “It’s not enough to build a plant with the world’s best technology, you have to find and train the world’s best people to be able to use that technology correctly. That’s why Klein Tools has given free online access to tradesmen to make sure they have the technical knowledge on how to use machines and tools when the world is changing at such a fast pace around them. We’ve also supported industry training and education to make sure the tradesmen who are coming up the ranks know the skills they need in order to be successful for their company and their community.”
Some of the specific ways that they are supporting tradesmen education and the workforce include Klein’s Million Dollar Pledge to National Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee for the Electrical Industry (NJATC) and broad support of local training organizations such as Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), Independent Electrical Contractors (IEC), and Skills USA. Commitments like these show that Klein understands how valuable the next generation of tradesman are.
Having been able to spend some time at Klein’s manufacturing headquarters in Mansfield, Texas as well as owning many of their hand tools myself, I’m well aware of the quality and reputation that comes in every Klein package. The tradesmen know about Klein’s commitment to equipping them with only the best as well.
Greg wrapped it up with this thought: “We don’t just make great products, we make great products that stand up to the demands of the professionals who use them everyday. Because our standards are as high as theirs, we demand that every one of our hand tools delivers all the performance, durability and precision that tradesman need to get the job done right. That’s why all the professionals know…when you pick up a Klein, it’ll never let you.”
So from all of us here at PTR to all of you tradesmen out there, thank you for the work you do and the history you’ve literally built. Happy National Tradesmen Day!
Our gratitude also goes out to Greg Palese and Klein Tools for their contributions to tradesmen and as being a willing resource for this article!