Jump-Start Career Readiness: 3 Easy Steps to Offer Trade Certifications

Skilled Trades Student Smiling at Camera in a library while sitting at a computer

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the construction industry will add 25,000 jobs each year in the U.S., and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed in 2022 is projected to add 15 million infrastructure jobs within a decade.

But where are the skilled workers who will take these jobs?

91% of contractors report struggling to fill skilled trades job openings for electricians, plumbers, and more. Many of those they can find are nearing retirement, in a widespread “graying of the workforce.”

The result is an acute labor shortage within the construction, infrastructure, and home services industries. By offering skilled trades certificate programs, your organization can support community growth, ensure employers have the staff they need, and provide individuals with access to better careers.

What Certifications Do You Need for a Trades Training Program?

A trades certificate program trains learners in job-specific skilled trades and assesses their skill mastery. At the end of a trades certificate program, a job-ready certificate demonstrates to employers that learners have the knowledge and competency to succeed in an entry-level job.

They can also earn additional industry-specific certifications required for worksites, enhancing the learner’s employability. Such certifications include:

  • OSHA 10
  • EPA 608
  • NATE (North American Technician Excellence) Ready to Work Certification
  • HVAC Excellence Employment Ready Certification

Why Offer Trade Certifications?

The skilled trades are essential to support infrastructure, homebuilding, and business growth in your city or state. But stability isn’t the only reason to invest in technical education and reskilling.

1. Short On-ramp to Job Readiness With Trades Certifications

Most skilled trades certificate programs take less than a year to complete, and some take only a few weeks. That means you won’t have to wait four years to see an impact – you can redirect unemployed or underemployed residents toward a new career and meet employer needs quickly. For areas that have been hard-hit by manufacturing closures, for example, the skilled trades are an excellent reskilling option.

2. Long-term Career Growth and Entrepreneurship Opportunities 


Most people hold to the myth that blue-collar jobs don’t pay well. With the skilled trades, this simply isn’t true. Consider these median salaries for skilled trades workers:

In some areas, entry-level trades positions earn double the minimum wage. Some senior tradesmen and business owners earn into the six figures. The skilled trades also offer entrepreneurship opportunities with a chance to start a business.

The demand for skilled trades will continue to grow because they support infrastructure. There will always be appliances to fix, electrical to install, and HVAC units to maintain.

3 Steps to Offering Industry-Ready Certifications as a Part of Your Trades Training Program

Adding trades certificates to your program offerings isn’t as resource-intensive as you might think. While you can partner with existing CTE programs in your area, you can also offer immersive online programs convenient for all learner types. There are many resources and pre-built programs you can offer – no need to build a program from scratch.

1. Assess local labor shortages with Trades Training


Before starting any program, you first want to be sure that you are offering certifications that match the labor needs in your area. That way you can feel confident that any learners who are putting in the work will come out job-ready for sought-after jobs.

Here is how you can go about assessing the labor needs in your community:

  • Connect with your local Department of Labor or Associated Builders & Contractors chapter
  • Collect data and feedback from them about which skilled labor shortages are the most acute in your area
  • Choose two or three areas to prioritize based on what you learn

2. Choose an education partner


Once you’ve chosen a few areas to focus on, identify a partner to deliver your trades certificate program. This can be a traditional educator like a trade school, but more often than not, you are serving folks who need more flexibility in their programs. With the technology available today, consider online programs with immersive simulation-based learning, such as Interplay Learning

Whichever education partner you choose, make sure that your partner:

  • Is accredited through the IACET and offers certifications such as NATE and OSHA
  • Offers flexible programs to accommodate all learners and schedules for higher completion rates
  • Offers content created by expert instructors in their field
  • Engages learners through interactive, hands-on simulations for better material retention and unlimited practice in a risk-free environment

3. Launch Your Certificate Program


Once you’ve chosen your initial trades certifications and platform, it’s time to launch the certificate program. Leverage these implementation strategies for an effective launch.

  • Select target outcomes such as enrollment rates, completion rates, certification pass rates, and job placement rates that you can track to measure success.
  • Attract and enroll learners with a recruitment campaign through community partners, media outreach, and digital marketing campaigns.
  • Monitor learner progress. With Interplay Academy, program administrators have insights into learner progress so they can provide support and encouragement.
  • Provide career support once learners are ready to enter the workforce.

What Happens After a Learner is Certified?

Once learners have completed their trades certificates, they need transitional support to bridge the gap from certification to first paycheck. This can take different forms, but the best support is multifaceted.

Interplay Learning, for example, offers Career Exploration for learners to virtually explore potential jobs and BlueRecruit, an employer-matching platform. BlueRecruit matches employers with job-seekers based on skills and certifications, providing job placement data to workforce development sponsors at no charge.

Another option for organizations is to partner directly with local businesses in the community. With these partnerships, many companies will have jobs waiting for graduates as soon as they complete their certification program. These employers may also offer apprenticeship opportunities, which can be a great pathway into employment for learners.

Partnering With Interplay Learning

Interplay Academy provides an off-the-shelf solution for anyone wanting to implement a skilled trades training program.

The curriculum is a job-ready trades certificate program including over 40 instructor hours per learning pathway, preparation for certification tests, and 3D immersive technology to train learners without expensive equipment and classroom space. Each certificate program is simple to implement with the tools and support for educators and administrators to launch and track a scalable program.

Expert guidance built into the learning content successfully prepares learners for future careers without the need to hire on-staff industry experts or build expensive infrastructure!

Fast-Track Job Readiness in the Trades

By offering certificate programs for the trades, you can bridge the gap between job-seekers and employers, providing a path to long-term career growth.

These programs not only benefit individuals looking to enter or advance in the trades but also contribute significantly to the economic stability and growth of communities. With strategic partnerships and innovative educational platforms like Interplay Academy, you can narrow labor shortages and empower individuals with the skills needed for success.

Ready to explore an out-of-the-box certificate program? See Interplay Learning in action.