Academic or vocational skills?

For the first time ever, a majority of jobless Americans 25 and older are college graduates or people with “some college.”  Should our educational system focus less on academics and more on teaching workforce skills?

About Joanne


  1. How about both. Lots of students supposedly only getting academic skills are not really getting academic skills either. And many academic skills are workforce skills. Maybe the problem is that students simply are not learning either at college.

  2. Starting in kindergarten, schools should be teaching and enforcing the use of the habits and behaviors that will facilitate success in school and in work; self-control, decent manners, delayed gratification/planning for the future, hard work, being on time/handing work in on time, working independently etc. – all age-appropriate, of course. This used to be so obvious as to need no discussion. When I was in school, self-esteem was not even on the horizon, but self-control was an absolute virtue. Whether students go directly to work, to some sort of vocational program or to college, these habits are valuable. Without them, success is much less likely.

  3. Richard Aubrey says:

    I had been working a long time before I made as much in one year as we are currently spending on a major remodeling. None of the guys who’ve been showing up, bright–really annoyingly bright–and cheerful and early to do work I can barely understand, chatting about their kayaking or marathon running or kids in college or their vacation plans, went to college.
    They do have, however, a scary work ethic, a PhD’s worth of technical knowledge, great people skills, are good businessmen, and complement each other. The general contractor is pretty good at interior decorating and knows how things go in homes–traffic flow and so forth. Great suggestions. They solve unforeseen problems.
    Said it before, simply not going to college does not a successful tradesman make.
    Some years ago, chatting with a heating/ac repair guy as he dug a box elder bug out of a contact, I discovered he and his daughter ride both western and dressage. Not for the poor. OTOH, simply being a slacker in college prep HS isn’t going to get you there.