Wanted: skilled trades workers

As boomer workers near retirement, employers are partnering with community colleges to train a new generation of skilled trades workers. But many young people don’t realize there are opportunities in manufacturing, plumbing, construction and other blue-collar fields. Welding, seen as dirty and dangerous, is trying to market itself as noble, stable and lucrative. West Virginia needs steelworkers.

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  1. MagisterGreen says:

    “But many young people don’t realize there are opportunities in manufacturing, plumbing, construction and other blue-collar fields.”

    And why would they, since the entire raison d’etre of secondary schools and universities these days is to convince you that college is a foregone necessity if one ever wants a happy and productive life? The higher education Ponzi scheme would fall apart if students who have no desire (or dare I say it: aptitude) for higher education went straight into community colleges or apprenticeships for these very sorts of jobs that are not only in high demand but are becoming more and more lucrative as fewer and fewer qualified practitioners are to be found. Better to spend four or more years and accumulate $100-200k or more of debt than to go into manual labor. It reminds me of ancient Athens, where manual laborers were looked down upon by the elite citizens, even as those same elite citizens relied entirely on those lowly laborers to build and man the navy that ensured Athens’ dominance over the Aegean and her empire.

    After all, what will happen when our toilets and roads and building all fall down and no one is left who knows how to rebuild them?

  2. No matter where something is designed and built, it still needs to be installed, operated, and serviced here.

    The biggest problem is that too many are pushing the idea that ‘academic’ fields are the exclusive home of ‘knowledge work.’ Skilled trades require thinking and problem solving skills – and success or failure is unequivocal. At the same time, much of what happens in academia is useless sophistry, with no easy way to separate the wheat from the chaff (or fertilizer).

    Post-secondary education is a must. That does not, however, always mean college.

  3. Sean Mays says:

    I’m reminded of what happened in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy: Hyper advanced civilization puts the “undesirables” (consultants, marketers, phone sanitizers) on a ship and sends them off randomly while the “good folks” go to a new planet, only to be wiped out by a virulent phone handset virus.

    Lifelong learners, yes. Post-secondary education, absolutely. College for all? Not so much.