Joshua Page knew early on that college wasn’t going to be his path. He hated high school, had average grades at best, and frequently found himself serving out suspensions.
After losing his mom at a young age, Page fell out with his family, ran away from home and made a host of other bad decisions.
Trade school saved his life.
Today, Page runs JP Electric and Son. The Massachusetts-based company has been experiencing steady growth by acquisition over the past decade. Page is also a TEDx speaker. And, he’s on the verge of publishing a children’s book about working in the trades.
One of his primary goals is to create awareness among teens and young people that a career in the trades can be cool, and that steering toward a college education is not the only viable way to stake out a profitable career.
“We got to nurture our kids, have them grow up correctly and do the best job we can,” Page says. “But I think they're always being pushed toward college. There’s a stigma that if you don't graduate from a four-year college and get a degree, you're useless. You can't make any money. And that's obviously not accurate. There are electricians and plumbers and tradesmen who are making millions of dollars a year.”
Page looks around Massachusetts and wonders why the average age of an electrician is 52.
In his TEDx talk, and when he does frequent Career Day speeches in his community, Page tries to communicate the idea that kids need to be exposed to the possibility of a trade school.
“Obviously, college needs to be an option,” he says. “But it’s not an option for every kid. Some of my best employees were the ones that didn’t do well in school. They didn’t want to go to college. They were kind of lost, but they were great with their hands. In the end, that’s who we are, right?
To spread this concept to an even younger audience, at the start of the pandemic Page began writing a children’s book called What Does Your Daddy Do? It’s aimed at elementary school readers.
“The goal is to plant the seed in the young child’s mind that the trades are cool,” he says.
If the book can get a dialogue started between kids and their parents, Page will consider the effort a success.
Joshua Page recently joined ServiceTitan’s Jackie Aubel as part of Season 6 of the “Toolbox for the Trades” podcast, which included Page’s thoughts on:
His own journey through the trades into electrical contracting.
How he became a speaking advocate for the trades.
Why the generational gap needs to be addressed.
The importance of a work/life balance.
Best practices for acquiring a company.
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