Recently, the schools in our area, have been focusing on sending every kid to college, regardless of their interest. While I think college is certainly important, I don't think everyone is suited for college. I don't like the fact that they disparage those who aren't interested in college. I would have to say that I would consider the attitude of many in the schools towards those students who aren't interested in college as their primary future source of education as belittling and almost to the extent of bullying kids.
My high school guidance counselor told me that "I had better learn a trade because I wasn't going to amount to anything in life". Now granted, this was in the late 1970's, but such "encouragement" only fueled the fires within me to succeed. Sadly, many don't respond this way and they succumb to what I call "Stinkin thinkin" and they believe that their futures are bleak, which couldn't be further from the truth.
In the end, my high school had me as a guest speaker numerous times to their business classes and in other motivational forums. But the mere fact that a "counselor" would say such things to ANY student is simply unacceptable. Young people I have spoken with in the schools today have told me the comments made about the absolute necessity for everyone to attend college or you will be a "burnout loser" as one young woman was told.
I and a couple of close friends who also own their own companies, have been harping on the local school districts to reinstate the instruction of welding classes, wood working and also metal shop. These were all classes when I went through the school (many moons ago, but it doesn't seem like as many years as it actually is).
The school recently asked and received approval for a $100 MILLION dollar "renovation" program for the schools, which include the Senior High School (grades 9 -12) and Middle School (6,7 and 8th) and also 3 elementary schools. While the school board focused on "new learning environments" which include getting rid of desks and wasting money on expensive consultant recommended furniture, they also installed special custom "booths" in the lunch room which each booth has "charging pods" and electronic attachments for all of the kiddies gadgets.
The most amazing thing for me is that my graduating class was the LARGEST ever to graduate from this school district. Today, the senior class is between 215 to 225 and my class had 365 kids in it. Yet the spending lavishly on ridiculously fancy and unnecessary luxury items within the school is very troublesome to me and many of my friends. A close friend of mine recently personally paid for an all "Astro Turf" sports field which was $1.6 Million dollars just for the field. The big bond project included about $10 million for "stadium improvements". Yet they can't (or perhaps WON'T) find money for welding and machine shop training equipment.
We have been pushing for a program to teach the essential trades which will always be needed, regardless of how fancy technology gets. While you can turn your thermostat up and down with your "smart phone", you still need an HVAC system and someone will need to know how to repair and install them.
While technology has done lot's of things, it hasn't replaced the need for plumbers, carpenters, welders, metal workers and etc., etc. Well, the school has allowed space for these programs, they have left it up to the public to raise the money for the equipment. So, my wife and I agreed to purchase one of the REALWELD Welding Training machines and donate it to the school. Two other friends of mine, one who owns over 100 rental properties and another friend who owns a successful Tool and Die shop are EACH also buying and donating a REALWELD machine to the local school for teaching welding.
This is a great training aid and allows the kids to learn the fundamentals correctly and it helps them adjust their welding style and rid themselves of bad habits before they become ingrained. Here is a link to the website which describes this technology;
RealWeld Systems | The latest innovation in welder training solutions.
Just curious about your thoughts on this issue. The schools all want to send every kid to college and they aren't even offering the opportunity to teach what I feel are many of these essential careers. We have met with 4 different school boards in the area and appealed to them about this issue. Each of us who are involved in this initiative, all chose "non traditional" careers and have done extremely well. We want young people who are interested in learning a "Trade" to have that opportunity. I strongly feel that the future is going to be very bright for the younger people who enter into one of these essential trades and build their own businesses.
Now, at least in my area, when you call for a "repair person", the person who shows up is almost ALWAYS older than 45 or 50 and to me, that signals a real opportunity for young people who want to work with their hands and build their own business.
Recently, a project I am involved in needed commercial brick layers. Ultimately, we had to get the brick layers union to allow us to call retired brick layers back to work because we could NOT find ANYONE to lay bricks. We had guys in their late 70's laying bricks because NO ONE else would work. It's very sad. Of course we ended up with an outstanding end result and the project came in on time and budget. The guys who came out of retirement really enjoyed it and as always, did an outstanding job.
But we desperately need young people to learn these trades. The brick laying would be best learned as working as an assistant with a master mason. In many cases, time is starting to run out as many of these highly skilled trades people are getting on in the years.
I guess I am curious as to if you notice the same issues with trades in your areas. Also, any ideas or suggestions that you may have on how we can encourage the next generation to consider these careers is also appreciated. Thanks for your responses.