Chicago Community Comes Together for Mechanical Trades Talk

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Mechanical trade influencers throughout Chicago got together to chat with the community about career opportunities in the mechanical trades.

Influencers from CMG, CDA, MCA of Chicago, Local 597, and more came together to discuss mechanical trade opportunities.

They spoke to minorities, women, and disadvantaged groups about high paying careers in the construction industry.

The real purpose of the conversation was bigger than that. The mechanical trade influencers wanted to know how they can reach the community to tell them about career opportunities.

The biggest takeaway

After speaking with community members working with high schools and trade associations, the biggest takeaway was to encourage learning the trades younger.

By high school, youth have been told over and over again that college is the only option. But, college isn’t a real option for everyone. It’s expensive and those that are mechanically inclined might respond better to a hands on education. However, by the time students are in high school, college feels like the only real choice.

So, start younger.

Building mechanical trade outreach programs into elementary schools could be the best choice. By introducing this career path at a younger age, students can curate their education toward this trade.

Getting into the mechanical trades is not an easy path. Those interested in this career path need to take a test, and, if they pass, go through a 5-year apprenticeship. At that point, they are assigned to jobs throughout their union’s region.

Pipefitters in Chicago average $44.66/hour, which is nearly $100k a year and they enter the career debt-free.


In America, the average cost of a public 4-year college is $40,940 a year. That is not a real option for everyone. The mechanical trades allows people to build a six figure career without going into debt. While it isn’t the first career path most think of, it is a truly viable one.