It seems like everybody is yapping about the shortage of skilled tradesmen. One person told me that there were 1200 opening for pipe-fitters, electricians and tin-knockers in Jackson County, Michigan alone. It seems like every industrial building in Kent County is offering huge signing bonuses for those same trades.
Due to a general lack of understanding of "trades", the folks who think they are smart are completely unaware of one of the largest impediments to creating new skilled tradesmen, lack of universal reciprocity.
In the ancient guild system, an apprentice would study under a master for a set period of time with four years being fairly typical but with younger apprentices serving a longer stint.
When the apprentice had spent enough time and demonstrated enough skill, he became a journeyman and could travel (make journeys) and practice his craft without the master's oversight. He could move from village-to-village and cast bronze items or make pans or do fine leatherwork. In time, if he were dedicated, he too could become a master.
The economics of the system were that the first-year apprentice was little more than a set of muscles and an appetite, often more of a burden to the master-craftsman than a help. A fourth-year apprentice was quite profitable as he could almost do a journeyman's work but was basically working for room-and-board. Also during that last year or so, he was expected to fabricate the tools-of-his craft.
The modern system of licensing and creation of "journeymen" is a snake-pit of conflicting requirements in different states and municipalities and that lack of uniformity causes lack-of-reciprocity issues.
Impediments to interstate trade
The State of Michigan used to have its own requirements of what was legal to put into sausage. Things like chicken-lips and hog rectums, tripe and spleens were verboten. Other states filed suit claiming that Michigan's laws were anti-competitive and in violation of Federal Laws that govern interstate trade.
Federal courts invalidated Michigan sausage laws claiming Federal law supersedes State law*.
In another instance, Herbert Hoover standardized the dimensions of bricks in the United States during the 1920s, replacing hundreds and hundreds of local patterns with the now-standard 2"x4"x8" brick. That allowed builders to comparison shop between every brick kiln within economic shipping distance and be assured that the bricks would fit and the numbers required would not vary.
Treating a human-skill as a commodity like a brick or a sausage might seem demeaning, but consider that apprentices currently get even fewer rights than a sausage or a brick. They might enter a program in one state or city and learn...two years into it...that their journeyman's card will not cut the mustard in any other area. Basically, apprentices are tied to the geographic area just like a Russian serf.
Obviously, credentialed skilled trade unions like the hodgepodge, at least if they are in areas of high demand as the price they can command for their labor goes up. Companies like long apprentice programs because they pay less than they do for a journeyman and get a longer period of payback.
Or, if Michigan or Indiana are opening factories and there is a surplus of electricians in Texas, they can travel up here and work for whatever period of time suits them.
The median for State licensing (by population) is used as the national benchmark for Journeyman status. If the program you apprenticed through equals or exceeds that bogey, then you are good to go anywhere in the nation.
Additional certifications can be earned for challenges that are truly unique to a state or region. For instance, additional certifications for some work done by pipe-fitters might be warranted in regions that have a history of earthquakes over Richter's 6.0 more frequently than once every 20 years. Tasks that did not have seismic requirements could still be done by the out-of-area PF at local PF rates.
Or an additional certification for an electrician might be warranted in legacy cities with many, archaic buildings with exceptional fire-risk.
If you came from a state or municipality that was below the median, your prior time-in-grade locally is counted toward the time requirements of the national standard and you would be allowed test-out any formal education requirements.
Military MOS in skilled trades would be given a similar fast-track if the de-mobbed soldier/sailor/marine/airman/coast-guard wished.
It bears mention that other nations have had other approaches. In some nations (Australia, for instance) the rail system was nationalized and one of their missions was to churn out journeymen skilled trades.
This made a certain amount of sense because minting journeymen is not always profitable. Business goes up. Business goes down. Furthermore, a case can be made that a strong core of skilled trades is a national security interest. I am not advocating this approach but presenting it to show there are other solutions.
*One must wonder why California is allowed to have their own pollution and water-use standards.