Blog About Plumbing and Beyond 



Jill Shippy


You are probably thinking – another article about the lack of skilled workers available.  Well you are right – because it necessary for everyone to continue to focus on what we all can do to beef up our industry.

From the Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters is projected to grow 16 percent from 2016 to 2026, much faster than the average for all occupations. More than double the overall expected job growth with most of the demand for plumbers from new construction and the need to maintain and repair plumbing systems in existing residences and other buildings.

Overall prospects for job opportunities are expected to be good, and many plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters will be needed to replace those who are expected to retire over the next 10 years.

As with other construction workers, employment of plumbers is sensitive to fluctuations in the economy. On the one hand, workers may experience periods of unemployment when the overall level of construction falls. On the other hand, shortages of workers may occur in some areas during peak periods of building activity. And maintenance and repair of plumbing and pipe systems must continue even during economic downturns, so plumbers tend to have more stable employment.

Why are we in this pickle?

One of the underlying issues is the loss of vocational programs in our schools.  Shop classes are being cut with the budgetary restraints of many schools.  These kinds of programs have all but disappeared – leaving the exposure to the trades a thing of the past.

For the last two generations, the focus has been on going to college, get a degree and by doing that you will ensure a brighter future with more access to employment. Not the case twenty years back.  It was most common that a plumbing company is family owned – both the boys and girls in the family were introduced to the family business and went on to apprenticeships.

Those who know a relative or friend working in the skilled trades are 50% more likely to consider a career in the skilled trades.

And there’s the “it’s not high tech enough” thought. Not so – while plumbers work with their hands, they still have to manage their businesses, search and order product, obtain installation instructions and stay up to date on the latest products – all using the latest technologies such as smart phones and tablets.  And staying current with plumbing codes standards (both local and regional) means accessing these regulations quickly and easily. Not to mention the technology involved in products like tankless water heaters and HVAC equipment.

And speaking of high tech, the PHCC has announced their PHCC Academy is leveraging electronic media for apprenticeship-related instruction.

Recognizing the importance of plumbers, famed physician-writer, the late Dr. Lewis Thomas, former Chancellor of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, wrote in 1984: “There is no question that our health has improved spectacularly in the past century…One thing seems certain: It did not happen because of medicine, or medical science or even the presence of doctors.

“Much of the credit should go to the plumbers and engineers of the Western world. The contamination of drinking water by human feces was at one time the single greatest cause of human disease and death for us.

Read the entire article:

Americans breathe clean air and drink pure water because of the work done by plumbers. Our country needs plumbers.

So what can you do?

  • Hire an apprentice
  • Start your own apprentice trade school – like Hiller Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electrical in Tennessee – Total Tech School ( or Tharp Plumbing Systems Apprenticeship Program in Florida (
  • Sponsor a career day at your local high school
  • Participate at a local job fair
  • Talk to friends and relatives about the needs our industry is facing

There are a lot of resources available.

For veterans, here are a few organizations that will help veterans transition into the civilian life providing scholarships, training grants, and help to connect veterans with businesses that have available positions.

For you and your apprentices, there are scholarships available to help offset the tuition costs. Here are a few organizations:

  • Brasscraft’s Zell Scholarship program has awarded over $350,000 in scholarships over the last three years. Students can apply online through our website at:
  • The PHCC Educational Foundation offers scholarships. The foundation is supported by PHCC members and manufacturers like us and our sister company Delta.  Visit for more information
  • mikeroweWORKS Foundation provides financial assistance to qualified individuals with a desire to learn a skill that is in demand. The Foundation has been instrumental in granting more than $3 million in education for trade schools across the country. This year Brasscraft Mfg. Co. through our parent company MASCO Corporation, donated to the Generation Next fund which added to the foundations funds for even more scholarships.  For more information visit:
  • The United Association has been providing apprenticeship training since 1936. Visit: or contact a local UA office.
  • American Builders and Contractors, Inc. have 70 chapters across the country for apprenticeship and training program.  They are working hard to address the skilled worker shortage and improve skill, productivity and provide career advancement.  Visit:

Here at Brasscraft Mfg. Co.  we are passionate about the cause – our mantra is – “one student at a time”.  Through our Zell Scholarship Program, we have supported over 200 individuals in the form of tuition assistance that have the passion and drive to become a plumber.

Let’s hear about your successes and initiatives you are involved in – send me a note at or comment below.

Blog Archive


  • Join our email list to get the latest updates from Brasscraft!

Instagram Feed