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And on a Side Note…

June 19, 2017

I miss working in my studio, but I think today may be the beginning of my recovery of studio time!! In the meantime I’ve had a topic come up from a variety of directions, so I want to share it here. It really has no direct relationship to my studio, but then I guess I do promote these tactile skills that I discuss here. It’s Vocational Technical Training. So, I’ve had these discussions with many people for different reasons: An acquaintance who consults with companies on continuous improvement, another who wants to invest in a new business, one who is looking for a new career, and yet another set who enjoy the intellectual stimulus of discussion.

The most recent reason this topic comes to mind is because the POTUS once again spoke on jobs creation, but without stating any real strategy. That alone frustrates me. I have this idea which I shared on his FB page. I recognize that is really a black hole of commentary, but I did share it nonetheless. Here are my thoughts on one way to create jobs in America – for the long term. 

Vocational Technical Training must come back. If you want Americans to work in manufacturing, then Americans need to know how to do the work in the manufacturing sector. Return vocation technical training to the American education system as a core track that runs parallel to our college track. It is only natural that not all children should be on the same track – college – and they know this. They drop out, because right now the only two educational options are HS or college bound, and if they aren’t considering a white collar profession and a delay into the workforce, many don’t see the value in graduation. Not everyone wants to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer – and that’s okay! Let’s prove that.

When vocation technical education is provided in the core skill sets required to run manufacturing, you are then targeting a interrelated set of issues: Drop out rates, jobs training, manufacturing in America, and middle class strength. The only place where people receive training for working in manufacturing now that is not for profit/payment is A school in the military. When our veterans leave the service and enter the workforce they have received vocational training in some areas, but now we are cutting back on those opportunities with a reduced requirement for inductees. If we want to strengthen America, we need to return Vocational Technical Education to our education system.

One reason I think this is proven to be a necessary step is that there really isn’t a need to create jobs. The jobs are there already; the skilled workforce is not. Our company for one has a long list of personnel requests open, but candidates with the right skills haven’t been found. The advocacy association for our regional manufactures has an ongoing group with the primary focus to figure out how to find people with the skill sets they require to function properly. It’s considered a crisis in manufacturing that the skilled workers are retiring and there is no one coming behind them to fill the void. Electricians, machinists, mechanics, sheet metal workers, and the likes are what we should be training. Provide basic education, then the opportunity to prepare for college or the skilled trades and we will see a rise in graduation rates and employment rates, as well as the long term strengthening of American manufacturing. 

Now, I’m off to carve out some studio time. 

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