[Not one of the downvoters]
The leading rationale of “Learn a trade --> use it for EA projects that need it” looks weak to me:
There’s not a large enough density of ‘EA’ work in any given place to take up more than a small fraction of a tradepersons activity. So this upside should be discounted by (substantial) time to learn the trade, and then most of one’s ‘full time job’ as (say) an electrician will not be spent on EA work.
It looks pretty unlikely to have ‘nomadic’ tradespeople travelling between EA hubs, as the added cost of flights etc. suggest it might be more efficient just to try and secure good tradespeople by (e.g.) offering above market rates.
As you say, it could be a good option for some due to good earning power (especially for those with less academic backgrounds, cf. kbog’s guide) but the leading rationale doesn’t seem substantial reason to slant recommendations (e.g. if you could earn X as a plumber, but 1.1X in something else, the fact they could occasionally help out for EA projects shouldn’t outweigh this.
Good points. With growth of hubs it could become more viable even if it isn’t now. Transport costs (time, money) are probably low enough to make it efficient to travel at least a few times a year. Offering/accepting above market rates might help a bit, but it would still require costs of the search and vetting.
Given training costs and counterfactuals, another option might be to find good tradespeople and get them on board with the EA mission.
(for the curious: kbog’s guide)