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Secured By The Bootstrap: Wolverine Project Bootstrap

The pomp and circumstance, the campus stroll and the freshman fifteen song & dance are definitely things, but have you ever really stopped to consider if they are 'your' things?  With all the rise in technology and college courses that offer to equip you for the workforce, there still remains a considerable amount of American enterprise that require an excellence in skill and trade, but not necessarily a mention on the dean's list.  With a reported only 9 percent of high school teens seeking careers in the trades, there are currently more than six million jobs in need of skilled trade workers with not enough individuals to fill them.  Ranging from reasons like not enough information and pressure to attend college, many high schoolers seem to be going with the collective flow instead of exploring the feelings in their guts that cry for careers with more independence and job security.  

So the answer is to get Americans more interested in the honor and value of learning skills of the trade.  This is where Wolverine comes in.  The tenured footwear company that's been in the powerhouse work boot business for over 125 years has created a new initiative that aims to link some of the main individuals who don their footwear with their respective trade livelihoods in a full circle way.  Project Bootstrap was started by Wolverine from an initial tour to thank those committed to their trades and has now blossomed into a new campaign to showcase individuals in the trade in order to take away the ignorance and stigmas behind pursuing trade careers.  To help spearhead awareness, Wolverine has paired up with Mike Rowe, host of Dirty Jobs and the mikeroweWORKS Foundation to further the dialogue and disband the misconceptions that have left these jobs vacant.  Rowe sees the integrity and handwork behind the individuals he comes across and aims along with Project Bootstrap to shed much needed light on the disconnect between lucrative, honest, skilled, relevant careers and trade jobs.

At an event I attended in New York City on November 14, I learned firsthand just how invested Project Bootstrap endeavors to become.  At a special media event, a new working entrepreneur spotlight portion of the campaign was revealed and showcased three bright and passionate rising trade workers from their respective fields.  The first three Project Bootstrap members are Nolee AndersonHunter Allums and Andrew Lacy.  Anderson is a trim carpenter from Nashville, Tennessee and the founder of GRIT, a nonprofit organization that mentors young girls interested in the trade.  Allums, an apprentice electrician hails from New Orleans, Louisiana, got his start from unCommon Construction, a non-profit that helps high school students learn real world technical skills.  Finally there's Lacy, a military veteran from Charleston, South Carolina who decided to enter the American College of Building Arts to become a timber farmer after serving his tours of duty.  

These are three well-derving beginning professionals on their way to becoming masters of their trades due to the drive from Project Bootstrap.  After talking with them after the event where, to their surprise, they were gifted with tools to help their trades and a monetary award,  I realized that they spoke with more zeal and more wide-eyed excitement than many students shuffling off to college.  Perhaps Project Bootstrap is onto something in that maybe its about informing yourself to explore all the best possibilities to have the happiest most enriching career-life, lacing-up your boots and enjoying the lesser conventional walks to secure your future.  

For more information on Project Bootstrap, read more about the initiative on their site here.

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