welding 04 23

SPOKANE, Wash. - The future of work may not require a bachelor's degree to get a good job.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, blue collar work is making a huge comeback and earning white collar wages.

BLS numbers show carpentry, pluming, electrician and welding are among the fasted growing jobs in America.

The Spokane Workforce Council attributes the high demand for skilled labor jobs to the growing economy.

"Trades tend to follow economic cycles a little stronger than other occupations," said Business and Industry Analyst, Michael McBride. "So when times are good, times are really good. But when times are bad, that's when you have less construction occurring so you have less jobs.

Of the 10 occupations that are expected to see the most job growth through 2026, only one, a registered nurse, requires a college degree, according to the BLS. To see your preferred job's forecast, click here.

According to a 2017 Georgetown study that looked at the best jobs that don't need a bachelors degree in every state, the median pay for skilled non-degree workers in Montana is $57,000 a year. The state's best jobs not requiring a bachelor's degree: The natural resources sector including drilling or mining. Green jobs like solar energy are also increasing wages with a median pay of $75,000 a year.

One of the best no-degree necessary lines of work in Idaho is Transportation, paying an average of $60,000 a year.

And in Washington, it's manufacturing, paying $63,000 annually.

Meanwhile, Spokane Community College and North Idaho College are getting in on the trend by offering scholarships to students who want to pursue careers in health, information technology and manufacturing.

Grants are made available through the Metallica Scholars program, which awarded 10 colleges nationwide including SCC and NIC.

Each school was given $100,000 to help pay for students tuition, tools and textbooks.

"We were really direct about how virtually all of the money went directly to student aid," said SCC President, Kevin Brockbank. "How do we make sure we provide a little bit of assistance that makes a huge difference to an adult who maybe is a single parent, or who has transportation issues, or maybe just as a whole myriad of family history that prevents them from getting over the little barriers to get them to college.

To learn more about the Metallica Scholars program, click here.

KHQ is partnering with the Spokane Workforce Council for a job fair on May 23. For more information, click here.

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