The Skilled Trades Have Been Abandoned By The Minority Community

September 23, 2020


By: Howard Williams
July 7th 2021

At a time when Black youth that are not college bound need guidance, opportunity, livable wages and affordable housing. The minority community has abandoned the skilled trades as a field for careers and employment for their children. Most of the Black community believes it does not take much skill to work in the construction field, home repair, remodel or rehab property. Those times have past.

The construction trades and remodeling industry has changed tremendously in the past 30 years. Accredited training and certification is required in the construction industry today.

Because of the knowledge required in the skilled trades today. It takes accredited classroom training and then actual apprenticeship training in the field of interest. There are very few places for minority youth and young adults to acquire this training with the compassion needed in the minority community. And that is where the community has failed its young people.

I am going to try and explain why it is important for the minority youth and young adults to acquire the training and enter this lucrative field. Let me start with this brief slide show Fire Damaged Property Rehab. All the companies that worked on this rehab project except one was a minority company. Just this one project created work for 5 minority companies plus their employees. And yet their is a shortage of skilled workers. Also, minority Baby Boomers who have years of knowledge and are beginning to retire and are willing to pass their knowledge onto the minority young people.

Although this Fire damaged property rehab project may not seem large enough to need that many skilled trades. Local building codes require building permits for each trade and therefor every company that worked on this project had to have a license because all work is inspected by local building code inspectors. And building codes change constantly. Remember there is no such thing as a jack of all trades.

Here are the skilled trades that were involved on this project. And all had to be knowledgeable of the new building codes.

Demolition and Debris Hauler
Structural Engineer
Framing Carpenter
Insulation Installer
Drywall Installer and Finisher
Interior and Exterior Painter
Roofing, Siding and Gutter Installer
Masonry and Concrete Installer

Those that become qualified can earn up to $50.00 an hour, based on qualifications and years of experience. Those that become licensed contractors earns a minimum of 10% of each project cost. And yet some in the community would rather their child do nothing than pursue a skilled trade.

Finally there is a qualified NCCER Accredited construction trades training program in Columbus, Ohio. The National Skilled Trades Network (NSTN)

Mental Health And Unemployment Amongst Minority Youth

April 8, 2018

By: Howard Williams and Howard Williams II
May 8th 2021

For some reason the minority community does not and will not relate unemployment to the mental health crisis amongst some minority youth.
What is a known fact is that unemployment increases the risk of depression amongst minority youth and young adults. We are asking our youth and young adults to build a future with limited real world choices. And unrealistic support!

We have forced our perception of success on to our children being unaware that it will sometimes leave them depressed and confused. Success should be determined by each child as an individual. What you consider successful may not be what your child considers successful.

I am going to start out by saying it was not until it hit my own son that I began to realize how my perception of success affected his mental health. And what unemployment could do to the self esteem of minority youth and young adults.

Howard Williams II

When I returned home from college with a degree in mathematics in which I was told was invaluable, I was met with more job descriptions telling me I was still not qualified than I could count. It seemed that my four years at an accredited university was all for naught. And after submitting hundreds of applications, I never thought to ask myself what I really wanted to do with my life.
I spent that entire summer after college steeped in insurmountable rejection, which ultimately kept me in my parents’ house for weeks at a time. I rarely
interacted with my friends – or anyone else for that matter – and couldn’t bring myself to enjoy the summer. I found myself sleeping in longer and still waking up tired.

The most disturbing moment came when I went to Ohio University for my friend’s graduation. I always considered myself a sociable person, but when she introduced me to her friends, small talk was suddenly a challenge. I felt I was sinking into an awkward withdrawal like quicksand. My foreseeable future was a dense fog.

I started questioning my own self-worth. Maybe I wasn’t as smart as everyone had told me. Or worse still, maybe I was as smart as everyone told me, but as far as HR departments were concerned, intelligence was a useless currency compared to experience. It was becoming increasingly difficult to reconcile my fruitless reality with the promised success I was told would come with my college degree.

Although the word depression didn’t cross my mind until a couple years later, I was relieved to give what I’d been experiencing a name. The black community largely considers depression a “white disease.” Instead we believe the person experiencing it is just “blue,” when in fact, it is complex and can come with a range of symptoms and degrees of severity.

It’s no secret that the health problems black people live with often go undiagnosed often due to mistrust in medical professionals (considering examples like the Tuskegee Experiment, wherein black men were intentionally injected with syphilis, who could blame us?) but it ultimately keeps us ensconced in ignorance when there is help available.

It took a while for me to understand the source of my depression, which initially was unemployment. So I can’t imagine how many young black people suffer silently with it – even more so for the ones who realize college isn’t for them, while being inculcated that college is the only choice for success.

The unemployment rate has always been higher for the black community than for other communities. It’s time to swing the pendulum away from college as being the only route for children and begin to introduce alternatives like the skilled trades.

Skilled tradesmen are not only capable of making a considerable amount of money. Unemployment does not exist for skilled tradesmen when working for themselves. Also qualified tradesmen are in high demand.

Howard Williams

Our children’s mental health is more important than our egos. And we must always keep that in mind. My point is that when it comes to our young people’s mental health, we should allow them to consider all their future options. And support their choice. Even though we may consider their choice is beneath them.

Please Support The National Skilled Trades Network ( NSTN )

From Master Builders To Beggars

February 23, 2018

By: Howard Williams
March 23rd 2021

Over time African American males have lost the master building and artisan skills our ancestors were gifted with. Yet the African American community will not stop this from happening. The African American community will not even support the qualified craftsmen in the community that are willing to pass on their skills and what it takes to become masters in the skilled trades to the next generation.

Systematically, from within our own community African Americans have been lead to believe it is either college or nothing for our children. I do not want my child working with their hands. It’s demeaning. This type of thinking has forced some of our children into no other options for success. But at the same time we complain that the cost of having a qualified skilled craftsman repair, fix or remodel our homes or property is too much.

I want everyone to think about this for a minute. We would rather pay someone from outside our community, money that we complain is too much for what they are doing because we do not value or respect their skills until we have to pay for it. We would rather all of our children go to a college or university that they may or may not graduate from with no other option.

Booker T Washington vs W.E.B. Du Bois. Intellectualism vs Entrepreneurship And How It Has Affected The Way Black America Thinks About The Skilled Trades and Self Sufficiency Today.

Let us go back and review the debate between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. It doesn’t matter on which side of the debate you come down on, they both had valid arguments for the time. One focusing on intellectualism and the other focusing on entrepreneurship.

However, over the past 50 years African Americans have drifted completely to the side of W.E.B. Dubois. Intellectualism. Not understanding that there must always be a balance in the way a community moves forward together.

Believing that only changing the laws would be the answer to African American salvation did not take into account the dynamic of money and power. The African American community has no money, therefor it has no power. And whoever has the power makes the laws.

By not incorporating the argument of Booker T. Washington. Entrepreneurship as part of the long term strategy has left the African American community vulnerable. As we are finding out today. Laws are being changed by the stroke of a pen ( Executive Orders ).

The African American community cannot educate, feed or house itself. The African American community owns nothing!!! Until that is clear to everyone in the African American Community nothing will ever change.

Please support The National Skilled Trades Network (NSTN) Today.

Home Improvement General Contractor vs General Contractor vs Handyman

September 24, 2017

By: Howard Williams
September 24, 2017

Your home is the most important asset you own. It’s value or appreciation will depend on the quality of repairs, improvements or additions you make over the years.

So therefor you must understand what the different qualifications are of the individuals you have working on projects in and around your home.

There are three types of individuals that most people hire to do work in or around their home.

The most qualified is a Licensed Home Improvement General Contractor who is qualified in all aspects of home improvement. Then there is the Licensed Limited Home Improvement Contractor who is only licensed in one or more fields such as

Residential roofing.
Residential siding, windows, and doors.
Residential deck installation.
Residential basement waterproofing.
Residential prefabricated fireplaces and wood or coal stoves.
Residential masonry fireplaces.
Residential fencing.
Residential sidewalks and driveway approaches.
Residential exterior lathing and stucco.
Residential swimming pools and spas.
Residential asphalt paving.
Residential irrigation sprinkler.

Also there is the Licensed General Contractor who manages.

Construction of all new structures or buildings (excluding accessory structures and garages for existing 1, 2 and 3 family dwellings).
Structural additions, alterations or repairs to existing commercial or multi-family dwellings and accessory structures or buildings.
Multi-family buildings are defined as any dwelling or building that contains 4 or more dwelling units.

Coordinate and manage the modification, alteration, or repair of existing 1, 2 and 3 family dwellings. The General Contractor is required to subcontract all work to City of Columbus Licensed Home Improvement General Contractor, Licensed Mechanical Contractor, Licensed Electrical Contractor and Licensed Plumbing Contractor that will perform the work with their own hands or see that the work is properly accomplished under their direct supervision.
Lets not forget the valuable Handyman which I started out as. However are limited as to the projects they are qualified to undertake.

So before you hire anyone to work in or around your home make sure you know their limitations.

When you try to save money by asking someone who has a few skills to take on a project they are not licensed or qualified to do will cost you twice as much to undo.

Remember a Licensed Home Improvement General Contractor is where you should start and they usually are also a Licensed General Contractor.

The Missing Number

September 15, 2017

By, Howard Williams
February 15th 2021

As I began to look at the number of black males graduating from both High School and College I was encouraged.

However, I like to look at both sides of an equation.

The Schott 50 State Report on Public Education and Black Males, examines the graduation rate for black males in public high schools. The report finds a 47 percent national graduation rate for black males. If that is so what happens to the 53 percent that do not graduate from high school?

Why Are Graduation Rates So Low

Now let us look at the college graduation rate for black males. For the past four years the college graduation rate now stands at 35 percent. Again I ask the question what happens to the 65 percent that do not graduate from college.

Black Student College Graduation Rate

In order not to leave any means of higher education out of the equation. Lets consider community college and vocational trades certification.

Why are graduation rates at community colleges so low

So I am going to keep the numbers so that I can understand, using 100 black males as a benchmark.

16.5 black males out of 100 black males graduate college.
10 black males out of 100 black males has a community college degree or a vocational training certificate.
20.5 black male high school graduates out every 100 black males with no formal higher education.
53 out of every 100 black males with not even a high school diploma.
So, if my numbers are close. That means approximately 73.5 black males out every 100 black males have no higher education or skilled trades training. And yet this is acceptable in the minority community with no solutions.

For some black males lets at least start here! National Skilled Trades Network

A Childs Success Will Be Determined By Their Ability At Solving Problems August 14th 2017

September 14, 2017

Most of us believe our child will get a good education. The problem with that is, very few of us can define what a good education is in todays society. The old rule back in the past was a good education was learning the 3 r’s. Reading, Writing and Arithmetic. In todays society the majority of our children are weak in at least one of these subjects if not all 3. However math is our childrens greatest weakness. And that is why our children have difficulty solving problems.

However, before we can explain the importance of math to all our children we must learn the importance of math in todays society ourselves.

Why must our children learn math by Mark Karadimos

What is math?

Those who do not appreciate math are those who do not understand what math is all about. That is why the nature of math desperately needs to be explained. Simply put, math is about solving problems.

How can math help me solve problems?

Ever since there were humans in existence, there have been problems to solve. Whether the problems were over basic requirements like sustaining sufficient amounts of food or major accomplishments like constructing multifunctional homes, problems such as these remain with us to this day. The peculiar thing about problems is that they all have similar properties.

What do all problems have in common?

Successful problem solvers are able to understand what is expected of the problems they face. In other words, they know all of the details surrounding the problem at hand, which is the most important step to solving problems. It requires an attention to detail and therefore patience. After examining the details, intelligent choices need to be made as well as the beginning steps of developing a strategy. The plan must be carried out in an order that makes sense. So careful planning, possibly by justifiable experimentation, must take place. Once an actual solution is obtained, it must be tested to determine whether or not it is reasonable.

What does problem solving have to do with math in school?

Every math problem that gets discussed, handled, and assigned forces us to use many, if not all, of the detailed methods of problem solving. Each individual problem becomes a small but important lesson for solving problems in general. Math is traditionally learned by first doing many smaller problems. Then the small problems are put together to solve bigger problems. For instance, in order to solve algebraic equations, being knowledgeable about addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division is a must. Ordering the steps to be carried out, evaluating expressions, and learning how and when equations are used must be learned, too.

Who commonly uses math?

Everybody uses math whether they realize it or not. Shoppers use math to calculate change, tax, and sales prices. Cooks use math to modify the amount a recipe will make. Vacationers use math to find time of arrivals and departures to plan their trips. Even homeowners use math to determine the cost of materials when doing projects.

Which professions use math? Just about every profession that will allow your child to earn a prosperous living will require math skills, as labor intensive jobs are a thing of the past.

Here is a small list of math orientated careers:Accountants assist businesses by working on their taxes and planning for upcoming years. They work with tax codes and forms, use formulas for calculating interest, and spend a considerable amount of energy organizing paperwork.
Agriculturists determine the proper amounts of fertilizers, pesticides, and water to produce bountiful amounts of foods. They must be familiar with chemistry and mixture problems.
Architects design buildings for structural integrity and beauty. They must know how to calculate loads for finding acceptable materials in design, which involved calculus.
Biologists study nature to act in concert with it since we are so closely tied to nature. They use proportions to count animals as well as use statistics/probability.
Chemists find ways to use chemicals to assist us which entails purifying water, dealing with waste management, researching superconductors, analyzing crime scenes, making food products, working with biologists to study the human body, …
Computer Programmers create complicated sets of instructions called programs/software to help us use computers to solve problems. They must have a strong sense of logic and have critical thinking and problem solving skills.
Engineers (Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Industrial, Material) build products/structures/systems like automobiles, buildings, computers, machines, and planes, to name just a few examples. They cannot escape the frequent use of a variety of calculus.
Geologists use mathematical models to find oil and study earthquakes.
Lawyers argue cases using complicated lines of reason. That skill is nurtured by high level math courses. The also spend a lot of time researching cases, which means learning relevant codes, laws and ordinances. Building cases demands a strong sense of language with specific emphasis on hypotheses and conclusions.
Managers maintain schedules, regulate worker performance, and analyze productivity.
Medical Doctors must understand the dynamic systems of the human body. They research illnesses, carefully administer the proper amounts of medicine, read charts/tables, and organize their workload and manage the duties nurses and technicians.
Meteorologists forecast the weather for agriculturists, pilots, vacationers, and those who are marine dependent. They read maps, work with computer models, and understand the mathematical laws of physics.
Military Personnel carry out a variety of tasks ranging from aircraft maintenance to following detailed procedures. Tacticians utilize a branch of mathematics called linear programming.
Nurses carry out the detailed instructions doctors give them. They adjust intravenous drip rates, take vitals, dispense medicine, and even assist in operations.
Politicians help solve the social problems of our time by making complicated decisions within the confines of the law, public opinion, and (hopefully) budgetary restraints.
Salespeople typically work on commission and operate under a ‘buy low, sell high’ profit model. Their job requires good interpersonal skills and the ability to estimate basic math problems without the need of paper/pencil.
Technicians repair and maintain the technical gadgets we depend on like computers, televisions, DVDs, cars, refrigerators, … They are always reading measuring devices, referring to manuals, and diagnosing system problems.
Tradesmen (carpenters, electricians, mechanics, and plumbers) estimate job costs and use technical math skills specific to their field. They deal with slopes, areas, volumes, distances and must have an excellent foundation in math.

Can I get a good job without learning a lot of math?

In all honesty, anything is possible. However, less and less labor intensive jobs are available. Workers in those fields are being replaced by machinery and robotics. Even when those jobs are available, the pay is usually substandard. In order to gain successful employment, technical skills must be learned. Someone has to fix all of those machines and robots.

What are employers looking for?

Employers are looking for three basic traits. They want their employees to be able to reason, work with technical equipment, and communicate their thoughts with other employees. It is clear that math deals with developing reason and working with technical equipment. It is not so clear how math affects communication. Successfully using math can improve the ability to speak and write more clearly. Language, at least the type needed for work, tends to be extremely structured and mathematical ability helps deal with that structure.

After high school, what do I do to learn more math?

Basically, there are four avenues of education to pursue: universities, community colleges, trade schools, or the military.Universities prepare students for highly professional careers. Math is typically a strong component of their curricula due to the extreme technical nature of these professions.

Community Colleges assist students to either go on to universities or learn technical skills needed for data processors, electronic technicians, law enforcers, mechanics, nurses, and realtors. Math is not as intense compared to the universities but is integrated throughout each program.

Trade schools teach students the science of automotive maintenance, carpentry, computer repair, heating and air-conditioning, plumbing, … Math related skills are integrated throughout each program.

Even the military puts their people through school after basic training. These military schools are akin to trade schools. On the other hand, military officers, even though they must already have bachelor degrees, are put through further schooling after basic training.

Can I learn mathematics by playing games?

Yes! Research shows there is a strong correlation between math/science education with knowledge of the game called chess. As a player’s chess skills increase, so will the player’s math and science abilities increase. Likewise, as a student’s math/science skills increase, so will that student’s chess ability increase. Of course, this is not limited to the game of chess. It is true for all games that require a high amount of problem solving and critical thinking.

1 Penny Community Challenge

September 5, 2016

The 1 penny challenge to the entire community. That is all it will take If everyone in the community participated.

Take 1 penny then ask all of your friends and everyone in your social network to add 1 penny and their friends and social network to add 1 penny and so on. Our young men need us more today than at any other time in history.  We will pick up the pennies you or your network have collected.

There are 220,241 African Americans in Columbus, Ohio. If we received a 1 penny donation from everyone in the community, your penny donations would amount to $22,024.00. That is empowerment. See how little it takes from each one of us to help our young men. One Penny.

You can take your pennies to a coin star location or we will pick your pennies up and take them to a coin star location
Coinstar and Coinstar Exchange locations / Find kiosks at
To find a Coinstar or Coinstar Exchange kiosk near you, enter your zip code.

Youth Skilled Trades Training by Howard Williams – GoFundMe
Youth Skilled Trades Training by Howard Williams – The National Skilled Trades Network is a non-profit organization created to work with High …

Youth Skilled Trades Training

August 9, 2015

Please visit and help us give some the youth and young acquire skills that will be with them for a lifetime.

The National Skilled Trades Network is running a campaign to acquire funding to help train youth and young adults while rehabbing this property owned by The National Skilled Trades Network.

2551 Osceola Ave

National Skilled Trades Network Success Story

May 9, 2015

NSTN wants to welcome back Harrison Alsup, returning for his second year participation in our Introduction To The Skilled Trades Summer Program.

After spending last summer shadowing and some hands on participation with Michael Watkins owner of Watt1 Electrical Systems and Willco Services LLC, Home Improvement Contracting Company. Harrison has decided to become a carpenter and enter the field of home improvement. Harrison will become a senior in the next school year. After graduating High School Harrison will begin NSTN’s On The Job Training Program. We will take him under our wings and guide him until he becomes a Home Improvement Contractor and Entrepreneur.

​For those that may want to follow Harrison’s footsteps attached you will find our brochure and application. Also during this summer we will be rehabbing this property that the NSTN is in the process of acquiring. It will allow our youth to see the skills that are required to update an older home.

We will update the electrical, the plumbing the heating and cooling. We will also be gutting the kitchen and bathroom. Install new flooring, counter tops, cabinets, dishwasher in the kitchen. Install new flooring, tub/shower unit, new toilet, vanity, lighting in bathroom. Paint the exterior. We will have the youth watch how house painting is done.


Howard Williams

Executive Director Of Operations

National Skilled Trades Network


Construction is Changing

November 16, 2014

Construction is Changing … Are You Prepared?

In an evolving industry, inexperience and age are big factors in driving worker’s compensation claims in construction

The U.S. construction industry will need about 1.7 million more workers by 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics on Occupational Outlook. This is fantastic news, especially since the 2009 Global Recession laid off more than 2 million construction workers.

It’s time to get hiring, right? Well … maybe not.


While these opportunities for skilled talent now exist, 74 percent of construction firms are already having trouble finding quality workers, according to the Worker Shortage Survey Analysis published by the Associated General Contractors of America in September 2013.

There’s a shortage in skilled labor, in part, because of a shrinking labor pool. Experienced workers—particularly Baby Boomers—have exited or are exiting the workforce because of the Global Recession of 2009 or retirement, and the number of younger workers is also declining.

Because of the lack of skilled labor on job sites, workers are getting hurt on the job more often, and compensation claims are increasing for construction companies.

Zurich data shows organizations can spend as much as 14 to 21 percent of total payroll on disability costs as a result of employees being off work. These disability claims directly correlate with experience level and age.

New workers lack experience working in dangerous environments, and older workers are more prone to cumulative muscle wear and tear. It’s a dangerous situation in either event. But, as the economy improves, new hires — whether they are inexperienced or not — will become a greater portion of the workforce.

To help reduce a chance of injury on the job site, help general contractors and their subcontractors who are both affected by this, and their workers’ compensation costs, check out our list of 4 Ways to Help Reduce Risk in Construction.

– See more at: