Erhardt Construction

Take a Construction Skilled Trades Tour with Tom Daldin at Erhardt Construction on one of their projects at Grand Valley State University (GVSU).

Many people associate skilled trades with low paying or dirty jobs, but many skilled trades jobs have evolved into good-paying, sustainable, high-tech career opportunities. Today, skilled trades are some of the most in-demand jobs in Michigan, with more than 8,300 job openings. That number will continue to grow, with more than 6,700 job openings expected every year through 2022. Learn about a career in the Construction industry firsthand by watching interviews with professionals in the industry below.

Construction Skilled Trades Q&A

Read below for a quick summary of the most viable information from the video!


Question: What types of skills are needed for a successful career in skilled trades for the construction industry?

Answer: If you can show up to work on time, put in a strong effort and have a good attitude, those skills will make you a great craft professional. It’s in our nature to teach those who are want to learn more about our industry.


Question: What are some of the rewards of a career in the construction industry?

Answer: It’s the beauty of seeing a project from start to finish and the pride of knowing you’ve had a hand in building the places where people live, work and learn. And every day is different, which is great. You’re never really doing the same thing.


Question: Do you need a four-year degree?

Answer: All you really need is a willingness to learn and a desire to do your best work. You can grow so much in skilled trades and make a great living with a variety of work offered in the construction industry. There are also trade schools with two-year programs where you can learn your craft and many businesses offer coops or help train you for the work. Once you learn a skill, you have a life.


Question: What was the career path you took to work in construction?

Answer: I was graduating high school and I needed a job so I came here. I learned a lot from the long-time employees who were already here. You can start out doing manual labor and work your way up to operating the equipment. You can also go through educational programs while you work and get your journeyman’s license as a pipefitter or a welder.


Question: When should I start inquiring about a career in skilled trades for the construction industry?

Answer: High school is really when you can start doing apprenticeships and job shadowing. If your high school has a technical academy, then you can start building those relationships and skills there. Once you’re 18 you can start getting full-time experience on the job site.


Question: How can people learn more about working in the construction industry?

Answer: I’d say get out in the field and try different things. Talk to people who are in the industry and see what they say about their career. Reach out to people you know, your friends or family members who are in the industry. They can tell you about the path they took to get where they’re at. Maybe visit a couple of job sites and ask if you can talk to someone working in the field.


Question: What impact has technology had on the industry? Is there training you have to continually take part in?

Answer: The newer construction vehicles ride better and are much more efficient at performing tasks than those used in the past. When new equipment comes out, our company trains us on that. And we always keep up on first aid training. And while new machines are introduced into the industry, the skills a person learns and uses on the jobsite really don’t change.


Question: What is the job outlook for skilled trades in the construction industry?

Answer: There are thousands of jobs in Michigan for welding, pipefitting and carpentry. The construction industry is really growing right now and there are great-paying, rewarding careers out there for you. The more skills and certifications you have, the more in-demand you’ll be.


Question: What is a benefit of a skilled trades career in construction?

Answer: The fact you learn while you earn is one of the best kept secrets about construction. Many employers are willing to put you to work while they train you so there isn’t the fear of graduating with a sizeable amount of college debt.


Question: What is it like to work in construction?

Answer: Projects have a starting point and an ending point. One day you’ll be building a church and the next day you might be building a school. You’re constantly solving problems and the jobs are always changing so it’s never tedious or boring.