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Old 05-15-2018, 06:50 AM
 
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,636 posts, read 2,697,486 times
Reputation: 1683

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I've posted this in my local area forum but decided to expand my audience to some extent. Right now I'm in my very early 40s. I work in public safety and recently am vested in a mediocre pension. If I left my current job now, I'd get around $9K-$11K/year when I reach the age of 60. I also pay social security and my pension isn't the kind that off-sets social security, so I'd get full SS once I hit whatever age that is in the unknown future. If I stayed another 15-17 years, my pension amount would likely double and with raises and what not, it'd likely get more around $25K/year starting around 2,034. However, the pension is setup almost like a retirement account so if you take benefits before 59.5, you take a hit to some extent.


The problem is that I'm sick of my job and am looking for something new. I tried the computer programming route this past year and it is not for me. I did OK in my programming class, but I'm more of a hands-on, moving around, want to be more physically involved. Plus I just didn't like certain aspects of such detailed work. I could do IT Help Center/Desk, whatever it is called, but most folks around here make $35Kish, a few jobs might make $40K. It is a back burner option for now. I know that with the amount of knowledge needed to work in IT programming and/or server/database stuff, I just want to avoid that path.


I'm now considering the trades. Our local community college has a few routes. One is machine maintenance technician. There is an associate degree program, but they suggest getting the technical certificates first as they count towards the degree. This program includes welding, industrial electrical, quality assurance, materials, and process operations. Another similar path is advanced automation/robotic. This includes working with PLCs, pneumatic systems, hydraulics, and motors/controls. Both programs are geared toward manufacturing from what I can tell. The programs claim close relationships with numerous employers though I'm not sure how many internships, part-time jobs, etc. they really offer.


The last path are apprenticeship programs. The two I'm interested in would be dealing with plumping or electrical. The local unions here have an agreement with the school where that once you are done with your four or five years of training/classroom, you get awarded a two year degree. The electrician school starts off with OK pay but quickly advances and pay ends up fairly decent. I know depending on what you specifically end up doing, work might not always be a given. Plus, I'm not sure how the unions view people who choose to go and work full-time for non-union companies (such as non-union automotive factories) after training.


I do plan on talking to some advisors at the school. Right now I'm leaning towards the machine maintenance tech route (most of the jobs here want a wide variety of skills, which is what I'd likely work towards to make myself more marketable), but the automation side is said to be where good money can be made.


Unfortunately my wife and I had a home built a few years ago. At this stage I pretty much am stuck with my mid-five figures wage. We could survive if I made $40K/year, but we really need to bank some money before I jump into an entry level position that might only pay $35K/year. So right now I'm thinking about taking some entry level shop courses to see what interest me. I thinking welding would be a good certificate to work towards right now. I don't want to get into anything with a lot of technical knowledge to where I might forget something after a year or so of not doing it (ie: Electrical stuff). The welding will at least help me likely get an entry level manufacturing gig in a couple of years, and hopefully I can advance from there. I already have a college degree, but it is more geared towards human relations/public sector management.


Lastly, as this is a relocation forum, I'd want to know if any of these careers are in demand in the Knoxville, TN area or within NC or SC? That is an area my wife and I might relocate to unless her job is just too good to give up. The only place out west we'd be interested in is likely the Las Vegas area. S. California is just too costly for me.



Thoughts, suggestions?
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Old 05-15-2018, 07:08 AM
 
Location: Tennessee
30,834 posts, read 24,380,293 times
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I'm not a tradesman, so I'll leave the specifics of that to other people.

A personal friend of mine's father owns an electrical company in Cambridge City. They've been covered up in work as long as I've had connections to Indiana in 2014. I'd say the market in Indy is much better. Elkhart is supposedly going bonkers, but that is going to be feast or famine with the RV work. I don't think you'd have problems with a lack of work in electrical in Indiana unless there's just a significant downturn in the economy. My friend works in IT at Ascension, but is also an electrician himself and works on the side with his father to keep that skill sharp.

The economy in Knoxville, overall, is decent. If you could make it on a $15-$20/hr job, I don't think that would be much of a challenge, especially the low end of that and I don't think you need any special skills to make that. There's plenty of light manufacturing down there. The problem in this part of Tennessee is that wages are fairly low, but employers are having a difficult time finding workers who aren't on pills or meth. Pay is having to come up.

I live about an hour and a half from Knoxville, and an hour from Asheville, NC. The housing market and demand for tradesmen in NC is very high. Asheville probably has a higher cost of living than Carmel or Zionsville. Upstate SC has quite a bit of heavy manufacturing (BMW, Michelin), but a lot of those jobs start out through temp agencies.

//www.city-data.com/forum/weste...rsonville.html
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Old 05-15-2018, 03:57 PM
 
Location: Central Indiana/Indy metro area
1,636 posts, read 2,697,486 times
Reputation: 1683
Thanks for the info SC. You always have great info on E. Tenn. and W. NC. I've ruled out Asheville (well at least in anything near term) as I've heard housing is just absolutely crazy in terms of cost. I know that the city (maybe county) leans very left, yet I always hear about how all these left leaning cities have tons of low or marginally paying jobs, yet housing costs spike because an area becomes hot. I've heard the issue with Asheville is that there is also a large number of New England folks retiring to the area or fleeing higher taxes and such. I guess these folks easily sell a home for $500K and originally were able to run up prices early on in Asheville, causing everyone to start upping their asking price. It seems to be a cycle that jumps from city to city.

$15/hour would be plenty because I already know my wife and I will absolutely have zero housing cost and might actually have significant savings from the sale of our current home. No way am I doing a custom build again. We only had the ability due to us being a kid free marriage, but unless home prices go up significantly over the next seven to ten years, we'd still likely lose $30-$50K plus all the interest we end up paying on the mortgage. I'm crossing my fingers that the I-69 corridor from Noblesville to Anderson brings in some higher paying jobs in the future. That will help us significantly. The more we can get from the home, the more the money won't matter as much if we do move.
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Old 05-15-2018, 09:36 PM
 
Location: Tennessee
30,834 posts, read 24,380,293 times
Reputation: 39316
These questions would be best be answered by a local audience.

Keep in mind Asheville is a relatively small metro. Yes, Asheville housing prices are stupidly high, but it's a relatively small town without the traffic issues of anywhere in Indy. You can commute in from elsewhere with cheaper housing prices, even during most of the winter as long as you have a 4WD and snow tires. Look up Barnardsville, NC for instance.

I work "over the mountain" in the Tri-Cities. I live in Johnson City, and could be to Asheville in an hour if I absolutely had to - it's 1h10m or so otherwise. My office is moving to Johnson City next month. I'll probably be heading to Asheville at least once during the work week for dinner or a concert. Johnson City is much more reasonable than western NC with far better state taxes and there are still beautiful mountain views. $15/hr is doable for someone off the street in a run of the mill job now.

IMO, Knoxville proper loses out on some of the mountain and outdoor rec. stuff compared to WNC and Johnson City, but the economy is more solid.

Send me a PM if you want more specific local info.
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