Career Exploration
Support WFN

York Builders Association Workforce NOW Foundation Inc. | Call Us Today: 717.767.2444

Contact Us

Latest News

The YBA Workforce NOW website is one of York County’s primary resources for information about careers in the construction trades. Students, parents, educators & employers can find useful posts and the latest news on our blog.

5 Reasons Why Working in the Trades Beats a White-Collar Career

Sep 22, 2021 | News

You might have heard “working in the trades” in conversations about career choices. But what does that mean, and why should you care? In the broadest sense, “the trades” refer to jobs that require advanced skills that you learn through specialized and generally short-term programs. The trades include industries like automotive, manufacturing, and cosmetology. For this post, however, we’re going to focus on construction-related jobs.

So, let’s look at the top five reasons careers in trades like construction, plumbing, electrical work, or masonry might be the right choice for you.

Avoid Massive Student Loan Debt

There’s a misconception that education is the key to unlocking your earning potential. The thing is, there are many paths to a lucrative career. And we all know people who have a degree but can’t find a job in their field – let alone one that pays well. When you opt for a trades career, you’ll get an education without burying yourself in debt.

While you can attend a trade school (typically two years or less), the cost is not comparable to a standard university. Often, it is possible to find an apprenticeship where you can learn while getting paid to work. In many roles, you can get free on-the-job training or get any necessary training paid for by your employer.

When you consider starting salaries and the cost of education, statistics show that by pursuing a career in the trades, you’ll be way ahead of the game. In just five years, you could be on the plus side of earnings, hovering around $80,000. On the other hand, a college grad is likely to still be in the hole to the tune of around $100,000.

Train for In-Demand Jobs

The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) backs up what those in the trades, especially construction, have been saying for years: The future is bright! BLS projects over seven million construction jobs by 2026.

In the building industry, the number of workers retiring exceeds the number of younger workers coming in. Somebody needs to fill those positions. With some training and the right attitude, that could be YOU! The skills you learn while working in the trades are completely transferable. You can take those skills anywhere and find great work!

Earn While You Learn

A career in a trade like carpentry or masonry generally begins with an apprenticeship. That means you’re learning the ins and outs from a journeyman who once stood in your shoes. And while you’re on the job, you’re earning a paycheck. In addition to the earn-while-you-learn benefit, apprenticeships often include career-building certifications that can open a lot of doors for you. The great news is that apprenticeships cost far less than a four-year college education. If you find the right company, they might even fund all or part of your schooling.

Take Your Skills Anywhere

Any certifications you might earn, plus your experience in the construction trades, make you very marketable. If exploring other parts of the country is a dream of yours, you can practically write your own ticket after you have a few years under your belt. Skilled tradespeople are in demand just about everywhere.

Build the Foundation for Your Own Business

Early in your career, you’ll be working for someone else, honing your skills in your particular discipline. However, if someday you’d like to be the boss and own your own company, this experience puts you in a great position to learn how to manage the business side of a job or project. By keeping your eyes open and asking questions, you can gain what essentially amounts to a master’s degree of knowledge without paying the hefty price tag that comes with it.

Intrigued by the possibilities the trades may hold for you? You can learn more by visiting the WorkforceNOW® section of our website. On the opportunities page, you’ll find a list of internships, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and company-funded training available in the York County, PA area that can start you on the path to a fulfilling career that doesn’t require a lifetime of debt.

Local members in the York, PA area, share their Careers in Construction stories

Take the Next Step

Building Connections

The YBA Workforce NOW Foundation is directly connected to hundreds of employers in York County that are looking for the next generation of skilled trade professionals. Many of them offer on-the-job training, apprenticeships, mentorships, and more.

About Workforce

NOW Foundation

The YBA Workforce NOW Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit organization committed to growing our future workforce and connecting future skilled trade professionals with a lifetime of opportunities.

Contact Us Today

The future is in YOUR hands. Have questions for us or ready to take the next step? We’ve got you!

Workforce NOW Board MemberLaurie Lourie

York Builders Association 

Executive Vice President 

How long have you been a YBA member?  
8 years as YBA Executive Vice President 

Involvement in YBA 
As Executive Vice President, I work closely with the York Builders Association Board of Directors on the strategic direction of the association, manage our talented team of employees, develop the culture of the organization, build relationships with YBA members, the community, and other stakeholders, identify potential sources of income and oversee income generating activities. Prior to my role with YBA, I served as Executive Vice President of the Wayne County Builders Association for 22 years. 

Why did you get involved with Workforce NOW?  
With direct experience working alongside members in the construction trades for three decades, I see first-hand how the lack of skilled workers impacts the ability to meet consumer demand, ultimately affecting our communities and the economy. I also see evidence of how successful and personally rewarding a career in the skilled trades can be. I am committed to generating awareness about the benefits of working in the skilled trades and inspiring more young people to consider the construction trades as a career path. 

Workforce NOW SecretaryEd Hesson

Traditions Bank 

Business Services Partner.  Commercial lending, deposits, and other business products and services. 

How long have you been a YBA member?
16 years 

Involvement in YBA
Previously served on the Workforce Committee 

Why did you get involved with Workforce NOW?
To educate younger generations about the importance of the trades and the viability of a career in the skilled trades. 

Other Community Involvement
Finance Committee & Board Member (York Day Nursery), Finance Committee & Board Member (DreamWrights Youth & Family Theatre) 

Workforce NOW TreasurerMichael Lohss, Jr.

Regal, Inc. - Plumbing, HVAC & Home Automation 

General Manager - Running day-to-day operations, building/developing business strategy, and assisting other managers in developing and growing their team. 

How long have you been a YBA member? 
38 years 

Involvement in YBA
Vice President of the York Builders Association, Chair of Workforce NOW Committee 

Why did you get involved with Workforce NOW?
As a mechanical contractor that is directly affected by the labor shortage, I am very passionate about developing our youth. I see and feel the impact of what's happening to our trades locally, let alone in America. I chose to partner with the York Builders Association and the Workforce NOW Foundation due to their direct contact with the premier builder and associate members locally that are also directly affected by this. By working together, we can achieve an outcome to boost our local economy and help spread the message that college isn't for everyone and that a career in the trades can be just as valuable, if not more valuable, than earning a college degree. 

Workforce NOW Vice PresidentWilliam Rickard

Eastern York High School


How long have you been a YBA member?
2 years

Involvement in YBA
Workforce NOW Committee

Why did you get involved with Workforce NOW?
To help our students connect with the construction trades workforce.

Workforce NOW PresidentShonna Cardello, NTP

White Rose Settlement Services Inc.

President of White Rose Settlement Services and a founding partner when the company opened in July 1996.

How long have you been a YBA member?

22 years

Involvement in YBA

Board of Directors (Life Director), 2019 Board President, Women’s’ Council of the York County Builders Association, Marketing Committee, Workforce NOW Committee

Why did you get involved with Workforce NOW?
Working directly with the Builders and trades within the YBA has opened my eyes to the dire need for skilled tradesman.  We are all part of the same team and when one team member needs help, we all pitch in.  The idea to start a program came from necessity.   Our industry is aging and we need younger skilled tradesman.  It was a simple endeavor for me to support and become involved in the Workforce NOW initiative.  I look forward to continuing to promote this amazing Foundation!

Other Community Involvement
Shonna Stock Cardello is the President of White Rose Settlement Services and Inch Settlement Services LLC and a founding partner with the companies. She is a licensed title agent and has earned the designation of Certified Land Title Professional and in 2015 was awarded the National Title Professional designation by the American Land Title Association (ALTA).   She is a Life Director of the Pennsylvania Builders Association and a Past President of the York Builders Association.  Ms. Cardello was President during the Charter Year of the Women’s’ Council of the York County Builders Association.  Shonna currently is a TIPAC Board of Director for ALTA and is the Pennsylvania Trustee, and serves on the Title Action Network (TAN) and Government Affairs committees for ALTA. Shonna serves, and has served, on many committees for the Realtors Association of York and Adams Counties (RAYAC) and the Pennsylvania Land Title Association.

Staff LiaisonMelissa Longenberger

Melissa Longenberger leads the Foundation’s efforts to advance awareness about the skilled trades as a rewarding career path and build connections throughout the community with local organizations, educators, school administrators, employers, and more. She also oversees the Foundation’s efforts to develop resources and programs supporting the mission to empower more students and build our future workforce. In her role as staff liaison, Melissa works closely with the YBA Workforce NOW Board of Directors. 

Melissa Longenberger is currently the Vice President of Member Relations for the York Builders Association, where she’s served in a membership role since 2015. Melissa has been at the forefront of the Workforce NOW initiative, including spearheading its inception in 2018.