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Celebrating National Skilled Trades Day 2022

Wednesday May 4th is National Skilled Trades Day 2022. It’s a day set aside to celebrate and raise awareness of the importance of those who work in the trades.

By Jeff Mason

May 1, 2022

What doesn’t the average car enthusiast appreciate about automotive restoration?

Skilled trade professionals help to keep our world, and our cars, in motion. They move people and products from point A to point B, they build our homes and workplaces, they maintain our infrastructure, and they service and restore the vintage, classic, and collector cars we love.

For the past 40 years, society has placed a big emphasis on the traditional four-year college route, and we’ve seen less and less interest in the trades. However, the need for skilled trade professionals remains, which creates exciting opportunities for career seekers.

The Piston Foundation has a mission to bring more young people into the collector car industry. We’re working to help the craftspeople who built this American touchstone transfer their skills to a new generation and help young technicians build rewarding careers in the trades and services that fuel the passion of 25 million American car enthusiasts.

Why Pursue a Career in the Trades?

There are many different benefits that can come with pursuing a career in the trades, including:

  • You can graduate in less time: While many universities require four years of school or more, trade school programs can often be completed in two years or less.
  • Trade school can be more affordable: Because of the speed with which you can graduate, trade school often comes out to be more affordable than four-year college. But, technical education is still expensive. A Piston Fund scholarship can help you cover your tuition costs and reduce the need to take on student debt.
  • Employers are paying competitive wages: There’s a high demand for skilled trade professionals in vehicle restoration and service. Your tech school certificate or degree is a great start. When you’re ready to build a career working on collector cars, a Piston Academy apprenticeship can help you earn as you learn the trade.
  • The trades aren’t easily outsourced: In addition to compensation, it’s important to consider job security when choosing a career. Some jobs run a high risk of outsourcing, but the trades are difficult to replace. The collector car industry will always need technicians, machinists, trimmers, and panel beaters— and these careers require highly specialized, hands-on skills that can’t be easily outsourced.
  • You’ll gain lifelong skills you can take wherever you go: As a skilled trade professional, you’ll have skills that can be applied to many different industries in many different locations. Even as the automotive industry moves towards electric engines, the skills of a vehicle restorer create a world of career possibilities.

Getting Started in the Automotive Trades

While pursuing a skilled trade career can be an alternative to a four-year college degree, education is still an important part and the place to begin. Find an auto technology program at a local community college or technical school. There are many across the U.S.. Some schools, like McPherson College, have programs for vehicle restoration. Other programs, like the Motorsports Vehicle Technology program at Lanier Technical College focus on the skills needed in auto racing.

Choose the path that is available and affordable to you. A Piston Fund scholarship can help. The goal is to learn basic mechanical skills and get a good foundation in automotive engineering, diagnostics, and repair.

Once you’ve completed your technical school certificate or degree, you can look to gain experience and build your career path. If you’re interested in collector car restoration and service. A Piston Academy apprenticeship may be the right next step.

Celebrate and Support Skilled Trades

Whether you are a parent of a student, a career seeker, or a collector car enthusiast, we can all celebrate and support the essential role of skilled trade professionals in our world. When we put aside the false notion that a four-college degree is the only path to success, we can see that skilled trade automotive careers can be rewarding, well paid, and secure.

In the trades of collector car restoration and service, there will always be millions of vintage and classic car owners who know the value of a great technician. Seeing more young people choose to pursue skilled trade careers gives all of us a reason to celebrate the day.

Support skilled trade education for future auto restoration technicians.


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