Fishing Master and Robollio,
High schools should definetly push the trades to kids that are on the fence about college. I too, tried college for a year(UWSP) and found it wasn't for me.
I was fortunate enough to have a cousin who was a union carpenter and got me a job with the Laborers Union. Had I stayed in that union I could have retired at age 50 with a full pension.
I joined the Carpenter Union and am now 2 years into my retirement pension from that union. In September I'll turn 59. My local had 30 yrs of service/55yrs of age/ full pension.
When young and dumb, all I really looked at was the wage, but now, I am VERY GLAD I CHOSE TO JOIN A UNION.
Good luck in your careers. Hard work, but in the end, the benefits are pretty sweet!