Film Focus by Tara Taffera
by Tara Taffera
February 6th, 2019

School Days

I may have talked about this before in my blog, but the need to educate students about joining the trades as a viable career is one worth mentioning again. I serve as the editorial director of this magazine, and four others, all of which serve the trades. From window film installers to auto glass technicians to door and window installers, all industries are struggling to find labor. This isn’t a secret. But why aren’t local high schools doing more to attract students to these trades?

I talked to the owner of a local window and door retailer recently and he told me his company had to turn down $402,000 worth of work last year because he didn’t have installers to do the jobs. This same company currently has approximately $800,000 worth of work on the books. And they aren’t able to sell additional jobs as they were already backed up 14 weeks. Who is going to wait that long for their new windows to be installed? No one.

This individual and I then talked about how high school counselors don’t encourage students to join the trades anymore.
“That’s their job,” he said, a point to which I wholeheartedly agree.

I mean they may not hear it from their parents, who instead may be pushing them toward a four-year institution. So when planning for the future the high school counselor is often it.
My daughter is a high school senior and I attended senior night recently for the wrestling team, as she serves as the team manager. All the seniors come out with their parents and an announcer proclaims where each student will go to college. For one young gentleman, the pronouncement was that he would be studying to be an HVAC technician and I think he got the most applause. I think it was partly because it was a refreshing change.

One person I have admired for years now is Mike Rowe, you know the “Dirty Jobs guy.” I think of him as the “trade school guy” and love that for five years he has offered a work ethic scholarship that offers money to those interested in skilled jobs training.

So I’ve been thinking about all of this lately and last night I was scrolling through Facebook, and someone in one of the window film Facebook groups asked if anyone had ever attended a Window Tint School based in Jacksonville, Fla. I know many of the window film companies offer training, but I had never heard of this program. A quick search showed me the training is geared toward all skill levels.

“This includes aspiring tinters, seasoned vets, even the lifelong tinters who have 30+ years’ experience,” states the company’s website.

So this makes me wonder if this program promotes itself to local high schools. I plan to find out and report back in my next blog.

I can already hear what some of you are thinking: “Great so someone can go to a 3 day or a 5 day class and learn how to tint, and then open up shop.” That is not what I am suggesting, but I do think it’s a great place to start for a young person interested in the trades, and perhaps window film specifically.

Then they can meet other tinters, or serve as an apprentice with a local film company. The options are endless but it’s a start and I’m sure there are plenty more out there.

I would love if we could all come together and promote our trade, and others, to students who may not be interested in the traditional four-year degree.

Now it’s time for my shameless plug. You know where a great place is to also learn about the window film industry: the International Window Film Conference and Tint Off™ to be held September 4-6 in Indianapolis. Do you have an apprentice, or know of a fellow novice interested in the trade? Bring him or her with you!

I would love to hear what you all are doing in this regard. Comment here or email me at ttaffera@glass.com

See you in Indy!

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  1. You are certainly highlighting some very valid points which are also a problem in many countries.

    I think schools should be established by industry leaders to ensure the growth of their various industries. This would be a wise and responsible move.

    There are so many people crossing borders looking for work and trying to make better lives for themselves.

    In Africa, there is an unemployment rate of 38 percent and many good potential people dying to find an opportunity for a better life.

    These people should be put through a testing procedure to see if they have it in them to become a skilled artisan. This will eliminate wasted cost by the sponsored and will bring into the industry the right type of workers.

    We have to start to think the unthinkable and become creative if we want to move our industry forward

    Leon Levy Klingshield South Africa.

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