MINNEAPOLIS – Explore the Trades, a program of the Nexstar Legacy Foundation, is running a photo contest that highlights why people in the trades should be proud of their careers! Weekly winners are awarded a $50 Amazon Gift card.  The contest runs through Sept.  30.

To be a part of the contest this is what you do:

1. Take a photo of what makes you proud and happy at work.

2. Share the photo at www.facebook.com/explorethetrades, Twitter or Instagram. Use hashtag #explorethetrades.

3. Enter as often as you want.

“The contest will highlight how people working in the skilled trades love what they are doing and how their work ultimately helps our community,” said Renée Cardarelle, executive director of the Nexstar Legacy Foundation.

The foundation will use the photos to highlight the importance of trade careers.

According to Cardarelle, while the health and wellbeing of the country is dependent on the technicians that keep systems running, little attention is being paid to the growing and severe shortage of qualified technicians in the plumbing, heating/cooling and electrical industries (PHCE). 

Not only is expected job growth in the PHCE industries at 20% over the next 10 years, but the workforce in the trades is aging rapidly. For example, the average age of an electrician in Boston is 58. This means there will be a 60% turnover of employees in this industry by 2020.

In January 2014 the foundation launched a website designed to help individuals, ages 15 to 25, who are interested in learning about a career in the PHCE service industry by providing information on certification processes, training opportunities, job opportunities and work conditions. In addition, the foundation is focused on spreading the message that technical careers are professional and lucrative.

Winners of the Explore the Trades Technician Photo Contest for the first three weeks are: PF Plumbing, Eric Falconer, and Shane Wolcansek.

The Nexstar Legacy Foundation is dedicated to attracting talented individuals to the heating, air conditioning, plumbing and electrical industries, by inspiring these people to discover the prestige, earning power and stability of careers in these fields. The foundation accomplishes this by being the leading resource for information on careers and training, as well as a source of financial aid.