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Wednesday, 21 September 2022 21:07

Blue Collar Startup Featured

Written by Tyler Murray
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In 1924, The Alden Times (a newspaper based in Alden, Iowa) published the following, “if we may call professions and office positions white-collar jobs, we may call the trades blue-collar jobs.” This, many etymologists believe, is the first time the term “blue-collar” appeared in print. As the 20th century progressed - technology evolved, and financial institutions sprouted up across the country. The term became increasingly popular to differentiate the two career paths of workers. White-collar workers often spent the majority of their days behind a desk in an office, where a coffee spill or a mustard stain was the only real worry of their bleached garments. And on the other hand, blue-collar workers worked with their hands, preferring the color blue because things like chambray shirts and denim did the best job of concealing dirt, grease, paint or other pollutants that these laborers often worked with. 

Today, especially in the younger generation, there is often a stigma associated with blue-collar work. Many television shows and movies poke fun at the laborer – a character that is often portrayed as simple and uneducated compared to their tech-savvy counterparts. Commercials and other advertising constantly paint artificial intelligence and automation in a light that is sleek, advanced and ultimately as the path forward. Take for instance, the push for self-driving cars and semis by companies like Tesla. In reality, though, these technologies seem out of reach for now, or at least not delivering quite as promised.  

While technology and automation aren’t necessarily bad things – in fact, they can be great things, the reality is that a country or community cannot thrive without a robust blue-collar workforce. Blue-collar workers ensure the infrastructure is safe, farm hands ensure food is planted, harvested and packaged, dock workers offload goods - truckers ship these goods, electricians keep the lights on, and plumbers keep clean water flowing. In fact, the closer one examines what really keeps society going (and thriving), it is blue-collar workers, not nebulous financial, political or banking institutions. That is where Blue Collar Startup cuts its teeth - to spread the word about the importance of blue collar work, and be a resource for those wanting to break into the industry as an owner, entrepreneur or employee. 

Blue Collar Startup is the brainchild of Derek Foster and Michael Nelson. Their mission is a simple one – to help facilitate the growth and development of blue-collar businesses. They plan on doing this through a variety of avenues. The first is digital outreach. Through their podcast, Foster and Nelson share the stories of blue-collar workers and business owners. They talk through problems of the industry, how to overcome obstacles as a new business owner and what the future for skilled laborers might look like. Podcast guests include: construction company owners, barbershop owners, autobody shop owners, woodworkers, plumbing and heating experts, amongst others.  The second are partnerships. The duo is working hand-in-hand with organizations like the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOSCES) to provide real-life pathways so highschoolers can learn trades and blue-collar skills without committing to exorbitant amounts of student debt required by four-year institutions. Blue-Collar Startup is committed to making connections and building an online community of blue-collar-based thinkers. According to 2021 data gathered from the Hill, “transportation companies are short 33,000 truckers compared to before the pandemic. Nationwide there’s a 55 percent shortage of plumbers available for work, and electricians are also in seriously short supply. Meanwhile, construction firms can’t find enough qualified workers to complete jobs. The lack of skilled laborers is already being called the ‘next supply chain disruption.’ All told, 77 percent of manufacturers report issues getting and attracting skilled workers.” 

Blue Collar Startup is on its way to providing answers to these labor shortage problems. The goal is to connect workers with employers and be a resource for business owners who need skilled employees. As high schoolers continually turn to four-year degrees while ignoring trade schools, and baby boomers exit the blue-collar workforce the demand for blue-collar work will only increase – making for high paying jobs for those that are willing to learn the trades. As the cultural milieu pushes white-collar jobs more and more, the void will only increase. The good news is though, for those that have the skills, this means higher wages and more benefits. As the demand for skilled laborers increases, yet the supply of the labor pool shrinks, they become all the more valuable (a simple supply and demand equation). 

Whether you’re a veteran in the blue-collar space or just starting out, connecting with Blue Collar Startup is a simple process. Just visit, https://bluecollarstartup.io/connect to learn more about the venture and fill out the prompts to join the mailing list. To take it one step further, Blue Collar Startup is offering a “Blueprint” membership that provides access to member-only content, coaching calls and the chance to rub elbows with already-established members of the industry. The podcast is available wherever you listen to your favorite podcast as well – just search “Blue Collar Startup” and get ready for some blue-collar wisdom! 

Read 33 times Last modified on Thursday, 22 September 2022 13:13

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