Stock Groups

Career Signing Days celebrate students going into skilled trades


Michael Martinez wanted the career of an airline pilot. Martinez, who is now 18 and a pilot, decided that he would rather be a professional welder than follow his father.

The senior from Brazoswood High School, Clute, Texas has already found a job, which will begin immediately following graduation.

His father wanted me to go into the white collar class, he stated. But he was proud of me.

Michael Martinez at Career Signing Day in 2022.

Banner 3

Source: Harold Nicoll

Martinez is a Texas resident and there are increasing numbers of job opportunities in the industrial sector. However, there are less people available to fill these positions.

Chris Witte is a Senior Vice President and Site Leader at BASF (a chemical company based in Freeport Texas). He says that part of the problem of a labor shortage can be attributed to the aging of experienced workers. 

Witte explained, “We are looking to increase the talent pool” and that students should be given opportunities. The goal is to demonstrate that they are high-paying, well-paid jobs.

Learn more about Personal Finance 
Post-pandemic, four years of college loses its appeal
This is how student loan debt became a $1.7 trillion crisis
Is college really worth it?

Martinez hosts an annual Career Signing Day to encourage students to explore careers in this field.

Martinez explained that Martinez was astonished at the opportunity to sign up for a Career Signing Day. Martinez said, “I thought it might be worth trying.”

People are more used to hearing about the excitement surrounding signing days when high school seniors promise to go to a certain university.

College-bound students who are going to top schools will enjoy these events with their families, friends and community.  

Schools are now praising high school students who show similar dedication to learning a trade.

As we would be proud to recognize a professional athlete like a player on the football field, so we are going to honor skilled craftsmen and women who have chosen to make a career out of their skills.

Chelle Travis

executive director at SkillsUSA

“Just as we would celebrate a football player or any other athlete, we want to celebrate just as proudly our skilled tradesmen and women and their decision to pursue a career,” said Chelle Travis, executive director at SkillsUSA, a national nonprofit aimed at connecting students with technical careers.

They do essential work.

More than 1000 students from 33 states participated in Career Signing Day this spring.

Martinez and 48 other seniors from Brazoria, Texas, have signed full-time contracts at one of the Brazoria Petrochemical Council chemical or petrochemical firms.

The following seniors were graduates of Brazoria county, Texas’s high schools. They committed to full time jobs by Career Signing Day in 2022.

Photo: Billy Loveless (Brazosport College).

Brazoria County’s fourth Annual Career Signing Day was a huge success. This year, more than double the number of students applied for full-time jobs and got hired than last.

Aaron Ennis (chair of the committee and coordinator for resource development at Brazosport Independent Schools District) said, “The response was phenomenal.”

He added that “we are at the brink of one of our largest signing days on and down the Gulf Coast.” This is our goal.

Students must send in written applications including essays and interviews with the hiring managers to be considered.

Ennis stated, “We must know these applicants are serious about committing because they could potentially last an entire profession.”

He said, “It’s a tough process because these jobs represent an investment by contract and BCPC members companies,” which includes now 25 employers such as Chevron, Dow Chemical, Huntsman, Vencorex, and Vencorex.

“I was scared and excited because four of the girls were there. [applying] and I wasn’t sure if all, or any, of us would get a job offer,” said Angleton High School senior Adrianna Webster.

Adrianna webster at Career Signing Day in 2022

Source: Harold Nicoll

Webster was 18, and was offered a job as a welder at KCG Industries. He earned $16 an hour.  

She stated, “No one in my family went to college.” “I didn’t know what I wanted but welding seemed interesting to me and it was something I enjoyed.”

After winning a Texas state welders’ championship, Webster will be her first competition.

As college costs increase, so do teenagers’ perceptions of the importance of going to college.  

Students are increasingly drawn to the United States because of rising demand, increasing tuition costs, and the growing burden of student loans. choosing career-connected pathwaysRecent reports indicate that there are more four-year colleges than ever before.

Skillset trade programs boom as the enrollment declines

The likelihood of attending a four-year school sank 20% in the last two years — down to 51%, from 71%, according to ECMC Group, a Minneapolis-based nonprofit. ECMC GroupSince February 2020, we have polled over 5,300 students from high schools five times.

In contrast, over a third (33%) of high-school students believed that technical or career training was worth their time. They could be the key to their success.

“Today’s students have experienced the pandemic’s impact, and they want to forge their own path — a path that is shorter in duration, more affordable and connects directly to a career — especially a career in a field that needs workers,” said Jeremy Wheaton, ECMC Group’s president and CEO.

YouthTruth conducted another study and polled over 22,000 students. The results showed that nearly one quarter (or 28%) of those surveyed said their plans had changed in response to the pandemic. There were fewer students who are interested in college, making it more difficult for them to go back to high school.

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.