Terms of the Industry

As we continue to work on changing the image of the construction industry, and make it an industry of choice, it is critical to evaluate the language we use to describe it. Many words have unintended, negative connotations, and therefore we have established replacements for these terms.

Words of Choice:

Career and Technical Education (instead of vocational education or shop class): The practice of teaching specific career skills to students. This term replaced vocational education in the nineties in an effort to enhance the image of hands-on learning and skilled professions.

Craft (instead of trade): Indicates the skill and knowledge in developing and building things with one’s hands.

Craft professional/skilled professional (instead of tradesman): Professionals are characterized by conforming to the technical or ethical standards of a profession. By using craft professional or skilled professional to describe those working in the construction industry, we show the respect deserved by these individuals and the skills and knowledge required in those careers.

High Skills or Highly Skilled (instead of middle skills): Craft professionals undergo rigorous training, receive credentials and certifications and have a strong work ethic.

Options (instead of alternative): Option is associated with a choice whereas alternative is associated with something less than. Construction is a career of choice and not an alternative.


Stop using these terms!

Blue Collar: Portrayed as a less desirable choice and as a career that does not require education or skills.

Middle Skills: Evokes thoughts of mediocrity instead of the high skills craft professionals learn.

Trade: An antiqued term that, while not negative in itself, fails to evoke the same level of skill mastery as learning a craft.

White Collar: Using this term automatically makes people think of the term blue collar and poses the two as opposite.