Importance of Vocational Education in America

Contributed by our friends at CraftForce In 1983, an investigation by the National Commission on Excellence in Education found that our education system was failing our citizens. A slew of education reforms followed that report, which led to some great changes for our nation’s students and teachers. During these reforms, I think we underestimated the importance of our vocational programs, which might have contributed to what the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition calls a skills gap. This means that we have created an environment in which much of the baby boomer generation is retiring from jobs that don’t have skilled replacements ready to step into their shoes. Others have echoed what the Coalition is saying, like Fox Business,“Positions in skilled trades, such as welders and electricians, lead ManpowerGroup's list of the hardest jobs to fill in 2012.” This is a problem. 

So what can we do to change this environment, especially as our economy picks up after the recession? Maybe we should turn our thinking to the fact that many viable careers in our country don’t require a traditional four-year degree. Maybe we should change our part of our approach to vocational education and recognize that skilled trades jobs require trained professionals just like anything else. Jobs are available, and many organizations are out there to help you prepare for them. Companies likeNCCEROSHAAWS, and, Unions offer educational programs that focus on important knowledge and skills for this industry. If you don’t have a program close to you, check out a community college in your area and don’t forget to stop by the financial aid office to ask about any scholarships that may be available. The information is out there and the jobs are out there, but it’s up to you to pick a path and get educated on the possibilities!

- Written by the folks at CraftForce