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Thread: We need more trade schools

  1. #1
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    We need more trade schools

    There is an interesting story in the Wall Street Journal about a trade/vocational school in St George, Maine.
    There were no trade schools in the district, so St George decided to create one but the school district wouldn’t allow it,( how crazy is that?).
    So St George broke off and created their own district with a new trade school. Not just in high school but in all grades beginning in kindergarten.
    The story cites several students who were bored and doing poorly in school. When they switched to the trade program their interest and grades improved.
    I think there are many students who would benefit by switching to a trade school.
    We need more trade/vocational schools and school districts like the one in St George.
    Dennis

  2. #2
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    That is a neat story. There is a whole lot of liability involved in teaching the trades. The small town schools around central MO simply can not afford the premiums for insurance that covers allowing kids to use tools. The entire AG shop program at the little school I attended no longer exists. We do have very good trade schools. They have become consolidated efforts and the kids are bussed in from a big area.
    Last edited by Maurice Mcmurry; 02-20-2024 at 7:49 AM.
    Best Regards, Maurice

  3. #3
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    We have lost many trade schools in our state what is left has been limited in what they offer. Mostly IT and medical. After our industries left the country due to NAFTA There was no demand for many of the trades and now that the ones that were left are retiring there is no one to fill their place.

  4. #4
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    Especially with manufacturing moving back to North America we need to teach trades and related subjects more than ever.

    I recall many years ago listening to a speaker who lamented so much of our education system being focused on the college bound. He asked, "what about those who are work bound or bound for a normal life?"

    If students have the ability, they should be taught how to trouble shoot things around the home that may need minor repairs. Students should be taught how to use tools. I've seen many a person unaware of the proper way to use a Crescent wrench so it doesn't slip and round over the corners on a nut or bolt.

    Then there is learning how to cook food that isn't prepackaged to be warmed up in a microwave.

    jtk
    "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty."
    - Sir Winston Churchill (1874-1965)

  5. #5
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    As far as I know school wood shop and farming isn’t even considered a trade anymore. With everybody looking for a reason to sue, I can understand shutting down school woodshop. I took wood shop in school and made a career from it. I’m the only one that I know that did..

    the last cabinet makers union was in KC. There all just carpenters union now..

  6. #6
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    Wisconsin has a large network of Vocational Schools. There are several issues at play, one, legislatures require more and more from the curriculum and place an emphasis on performance testing without adding additional resources. Some classes cost more to have, for example English is a much cheaper class to have than shop class. Chemistry and associated lab sciences are also more expensive than social studies etc. We also have school employee shortages. Aids can make more at Target than working in the school. Teachers ability to organize and have a say about working conditions and salary have been taken away. Better to sell insurance and be your own boss. Legislatures have also given tremendous power to parents, so much so that demands are made on schools and kids are able to get away with almost anything and there's no option for discipline. The authority of the teacher has been taken away. There is no accountability for misbehavior. I feel sorry for kids that are in classes with disrespectful spoiled kids whose parents are suppositive of their kid. The "good kids" suffer in the end.

  7. #7
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    Our county has excellent vocatation/trade schools that are utilized by multiple school districts. They also have adult programs. That said, it needs to become more acceptable "socially" for folks to choose trades over university. Many of us here in this forum as well as our kids all heard the "you need a college education to get ahead" mantra constantly which in turn influenced things like investment in vocational education. It's only been recently that more people are hearing the wake-up call in a hard way...such as when they try to hire a trade and either can't find someone or have to wait a substantial period of time for an appointment. There's been a substantial "greying" of folks in the trades, too, because of this and we're now playing catch up as a society because people retire. Many did retire in the past few years because of "the global event", as a matter of fact, which made it easy given most "elective" work came to a stop. Dave brings up a good point about valuing the folks who teach, too.

    I'll add one other important thing here. I have a female acquaintance who is the only woman journeyman in a 600+ member millwright union in the mid-west. Not only are women not represented in the trades in numbers, my friend indicates that she and others who have tried to stick around, have been treated poorly by the males they need to work with. It's not about skills. It's about deep seated, um...learned behavior...that is frankly immoral. I truly admire my friend for sticking it out for over four years now so she can support her now 12 year old son and make a good living. But I abhor what she has had to endure just because she has indoor plumbing rather than outdoor plumbing. BTW, her work has been in huge manufacturing facilities as well as building 300' tall windmills. It's hard work, but even as a 5'2" 120 lb human, she carries her load in the work.
    Last edited by Jim Becker; 02-20-2024 at 10:33 AM.
    --

    The most expensive tool is the one you buy "cheaply" and often...

  8. #8
    I was fortunate enough to have a trade school affiliated with my high school.
    The school served 5 different districts. Students went 1/2 day to regular school, then the other 1/2 trade school, or as we called it VoTech or just Tech.
    Just about everyone I knew who went, continued on in some sort or trade.

    I agree, they're sorely needed now

  9. #9
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    A lot of the work that previously required "a strong back and a weak mind" has either shrunken dramatically - think mining, steel making, that sort of thing or has transitioned to strong machines or robots and minds capable of building and servicing them. There are still jobs that require quite a bit of strength - logging comes to mind - but there are a whole lot more jobs that Jim's 5 foot 2 120 lb. human can do just fine. Also, a lot of jobs aren't relocatable. Think utility company line crews, HVAC techs, electricians and plumbers. When my furnace quit a while ago I wasn't looking for somebody offshore 'cause they work cheap. I don't care where my software or entertainment is produced, it can all be sent over a cable. Good luck sending the installation of a new electric car charger over a cable. Instructions sure but not the pliers and screwdriver work.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Becker View Post
    Our county has excellent vocatation/trade schools that are utilized by multiple school districts. They also have adult programs. That said, it needs to become more acceptable "socially" for folks to choose trades over university. Many of us here in this forum as well as our kids all heard the "you need a college education to get ahead" mantra constantly which in turn influenced things like investment in vocational education. It's only been recently that more people are hearing the wake-up call in a hard way...such as when they try to hire a trade and either can't find someone or have to wait a substantial period of time for an appointment. There's been a substantial "greying" of folks in the trades, too, because of this and we're now playing catch up as a society because people retire. Many did retire in the past few years because of "the global event", as a matter of fact, which made it easy given most "elective" work came to a stop. Dave brings up a good point about valuing the folks who teach, too.

    I'll add one other important thing here. I have a female acquaintance who is the only woman journeyman in a 600+ member millwright union in the mid-west. Not only are women not represented in the trades in numbers, my friend indicates that she and others who have tried to stick around, have been treated poorly by the males they need to work with. It's not about skills. It's about deep seated, um...learned behavior...that is frankly immoral. I truly admire my friend for sticking it out for over four years now so she can support her now 12 year old son and make a good living. But I abhor what she has had to endure just because she has indoor plumbing rather than outdoor plumbing. BTW, her work has been in huge manufacturing facilities as well as building 300' tall windmills. It's hard work, but even as a 5'2" 120 lb human, she carries her load in the work.
    Jim, did they change the name of Middle Bucks Vocational Technical school to Middle Bucks Institute of Technology?

  11. #11
    My son chose not to go the college route. He kicked around in several dead end jobs until he matured and decided it was time to get serious about life. Now at 52 he has an associates in business, has masters licenses in 3 states for plumbing and HVAC. He did side work on his own for extra money until the beginning of November. He now has his own full time business with 2 employees and is looking for a third. He is working 6+ days a week to keep up with the demand until he can get more help. He is already profitable. There is trouble hiring folks with even just oil and gas burner licenses. The Voctech schools can't produce graduates fast enough even with their additional night programs for folks wanting a career change.
    Dave Anderson

    Chester, NH

  12. #12
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    Or do we need companies to hire, train and retain employees with pay and benefits on their own Vs all of us being disposable at the drop of a hat. Sorry, in a mood today. Brian
    Brian

  13. #13
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    A local industrial building contractor coupled with the local high school to open a trade school. A local industrial electrical manufacturer coupled with a local state college to create a trade/technical school. There are now 2 trade schools here in the valley.

    My Dad chased oil rigs for a living. I grew up in places like Kemmerer, WY, Craig, CO, Blanding, UT and Flora, IL. In short, I worked in a large number of major cities in CA, OR, WA and throughout the Midwest including living and working 4 years in the Chicago area. My coworkers in Chicago were making book I couldn't slow down enough to learn to live in Lewiston, ID when I transferred here. I have advised several young people asking this question "Where do you want to live for the rest of your life?" If it's not in a major city, I wouldn't go into electronics but rather train to become a licensed electrician. You will be able to find work anywhere you want to go, even those small unheard of towns. There is a great need and reason for the trades!
    Ken

    So much to learn, so little time.....

  14. #14
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    Happy to report our local JC is currently building a Construction Technology building. Should open in the fall. I don’t know what they will offer but they have an industrial DC outside. Looking forward to seeing what is offered.
    For my part, I have 3/4 of a college education. Ran out of money in ‘69 and was out of school with debt. I caught on with the UA Plumbers/Fitters. Finished my time and went out on the road proving that the rolling stone gathers no moss. Ken, we might have run across each other in Pasco or Craig. Net/net the trade was a lifeline for me and I talk to any kids who aren’t in school about getting into an apprenticeship if they can. Finish your time, more mature with money in your pocket. If, then you choose to go to school you can do so and make real money weekends, holidays, vacations or just enjoy the trade and be able to work anywhere.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken Fitzgerald View Post
    A local industrial building contractor coupled with the local high school to open a trade school. A local industrial electrical manufacturer coupled with a local state college to create a trade/technical school. There are now 2 trade schools here in the valley.
    The AG shop at our tiny country high school was like this. The teacher collaborated closely with the John Deere franchise and the two big industrial fabricating plants in town. The school shop was amazingly well equipped with donations from John Deere, Standard Havens and Monning Industries. There was for sure some nepotism going on. If you did well in shop and had an aptitude for work you could be guaranteed a decent (but tough) job right out of high school.
    Best Regards, Maurice

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