"We Need More Trade Schools"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Friday, September 28, 2012

I have been repeating year after year, “We need tech and trade schools.” No one listens or investigates the value of a technical school education. I know we have the skill center — and it does a great job for those youngsters in high school who wish to augment their education. But we need more.

Parents and grandparents have been guilty for years of pushing their offspring to go to college and become professionals; doctors, lawyers, engineers and business executives. We scrimp and save to pay for an education that will lead to a professional degree for our children.

Those that hope for a doctor in the family fail to realize the extensive number a years a student has to invest. The estimates we see of the cost of a college education are generally based upon a general degree. The additional amount necessary to gain a professional degree, plus the cost of setting up a practice is staggering. Many, many years will be spent before there is a chance to break even.

Yes, we all believe the white-collar jobs are what we want our family members to pursue; we even try to bribe or force them into a field of our choice. As we push our plans on our younger generation, we fail to consider the field we are endorsing may not have job openings once the six, eight or 10 years of higher education elapse. The world may change direction in that length of time.

I’m not saying professional positions are not worthy. But if everyone becomes a doctor, few people would need medical assistance. If they did, how would they find it? Without mechanics, (my friend paid $80 an hour for a brake job) there would be no means of transportation to find one. If everyone was a lawyer, there would be no lawbreakers, maybe just a divorce case or two but that would not pay the food bill. Of course, without farmers, we would have little food. How would pharmacists survive without truck drivers to deliver the drugs to their store?

I’m sure you are getting the idea. Now let me return to my opening statement. “We need tech and trade schools.”

As I see it, everyone agrees one of the greatest problems in our country today is jobs. That may be true, but there are not enough trade and tech schools to prepare those capable to fill jobs that become available. Not all high school graduates are qualified for college; they could provide the work force needed for blue-collar jobs if there were enough tech and trade schools to train them.

It’s simple. White-collar trades cannot survive without techs and mechanics. As our country became the training school for the world and our values slipped, tradesmen were laid off or forced into early retirement. Now we are in desperate need of those we decided to let go.

As blue-collar industries rebuild, retool and expand, they are faced with a shortage of machinist and maintenance personnel. So not only do companies outsource work, thus denying jobs to our workforce, they are now importing labor.

The premise that you must attend college to be successful in this world is plainly wrong. We can’t all be placed at the top of the ladder. We need technicians, mechanics, farmers, computer geeks, nail drivers, truck drivers and all the other non-professional trades people. Let’s start converting some of our unoccupied school buildings into trade schools.



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