Skilled Trades

Expanding opportunities. Overcoming challenges.

3M is committed to promoting the skilled trades as a rewarding career path for students and young adults, including those in under-represented groups. There is a global shortage of skilled trades workers — in fact, 62% of firms that hire skilled workers are struggling to fill their open positions. There’s also a racial gap, as Black Americans comprise 12% of all working Americans, but represent only 7% of those employed in the ten highest-paying, middle-skill jobs.

We see an opportunity to reach out to students of all communities, creating curiosity and sparking interest in the skilled trades. It’s vital that we start young—by grades 7 and 8, students have already started to form an “occupational identity,” and by grades 9 and 10, many have already selected a career focus. That’s why we support programs that are available to students and young adults of all ages.

Let’s work together to inspire our youth to take an interest in STEM and pursue good-paying, long-term careers in the skilled trades.

Source: Adecco USA

A closeup of a man’s face as he inspects a machine.

Rewarding careers are available in the skilled trades.

From welders to construction workers and robotics technicians to electricians and everything between, companies are searching for trained people to fill well-paying positions that aren’t your average desk jobs.

  • Construction workers measuring a wooden frame of a building.

    The need for skilled tradespeople is high and only getting higher.

    Due to the mass retirement of an aging workforce and other world events, the skilled trades are seeing a shortage of workers across all industries. According to analysis by PeopleReady Skilled Trades, job postings are up 50% from pre-pandemic levels. As governments continue to support infrastructure, climate change and manufacturing initiatives, the need for trained workers will only continue to grow.

    Employment in the skilled trades isn’t a job—it’s a career, and it’s never been easier to find great opportunities. Skilled trade programs are designed to meet the demands of hiring employers, so there are careers with great wages and job security waiting for students when they complete their training. Most programs can be completed in as little as six to 24 months for considerably less than the cost of a four-year degree.

  • People working on an assembly line wearing 3M respirators and using pneumatic sanders to finish vehicle parts.

    We’re doubling down on development.

    As a global company, we've set out to drive workforce representation, a culture of belonging, and equitable outcomes for our employees, businesses and communities through impactful social justice, diversity, equity & inclusion, and 3Mgives initiatives.

    Through 2025, 3M will advance economic equity by investing in nonprofit partnerships creating 5 million skilled trades and STEM learning experiences designed to inspire curiosity, improve educational outcomes, and provide transformational opportunities for underrepresented individuals. Education and workforce development are key to racial equity, and we are investing $50 million to address racial opportunity gaps through workforce development initiatives. This commitment doubles our annual investment in skilled trades and STEM engagement.

  • Two young women work closely together on a science experiment competition.

    We’re committed to growing and diversifying the skilled trades workforce.

    There’s a global labor shortage and for the first time since the U.S. started tracking information on job openings, there are more jobs than people available to fill them. Many see this as a big problem. We see it as a big opportunity. An opportunity to train a whole new generation of skilled labor talent. An opportunity to open doors to livable, sustainable employment to underserved communities.

    It’s why we have 3M skilled trades and STEM learning programs like 3M Visiting Wizards, 3M Science at Home and partnerships with SkillsUSA and NC3 to get young people excited about and prepared for a career in the skilled trades. It’s also why we’re providing $100,000 in scholarships to local and national skilled trades programs.

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Explore what the trades have to offer.

  • A classroom of students with a teacher standing in the middle of the group.

    Learn more about career options, hear from those who choose the skilled trades and explore resources to help you get started.

  • Closeup of two young women working together to assemble a computer.
    Parents and Educators

    Gain a solid understanding of how you can help address the shortage of skilled labor and how to help students pursue a skilled trades or STEM education through these helpful resources.

  • A 3M employee in a lab coat demonstrates a science experiment for a classroom of children.
    3M Employees

    Gain further experience and help others by volunteering or mentoring, search for opportunities and learn how to get involved.

Inspiring real-life stories.

  • A thumbnail of Cedric the welder talking to the camera with his arms crossed.

    Cedric | Welder

    Hear how Cedric turned his Basic Welding Knowledge Certification from Anoka Technical College into a career where he’s excited about his potential to grow as an employee and as a person.

  • A thumbnail of Dakarai the electrical draft talking to the camera with his arms crossed.

    Dakarai | Electrical Drafter

    After graduating from Dunwoody College of Technology with an Engineering Drafting and Design Associate Degree, Dakarai loves his well-paying, collaborative position with a company that offers lots of opportunities for growth.

  • A thumbnail of Jolie the electrical apprentice talking to the camera.

    Jolie | Electrical Apprentice

    Jolie wasn’t sure what she wanted to do after graduation—until she discovered an apprenticeship opportunity at her high school’s job fair. Now she’s an electrical apprentice working with a solar team and has set her goals on becoming a journeyman.

A 3M employee standing in front of a post-it note board with students sitting nearby.

Get involved.

Would you like to join us and make a difference? We’re looking for 3M mentors and 3M volunteers to help us guide the next generation of workers to careers in the skilled trades.

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