Thursday, July 31, 2014

Is Technical Training Undervalued?

Two days ago, a representative of a local technical college explained to me the abundance of jobs available to qualified tradesman in our region.  While there have been reports that half of the four year college graduates since 2001 are underemployed or unemployed, it has also been said there is a shortage of workers with certain technical capabilities and training. And the time and financial investment at an Aiken Tech or Augusta Tech are quite manageable, especially when compared to four year colleges.

Then this morning I listened to an NPR report about “volunteer tourism” and its apparent explosive growth during the past several years.  It turns out young people, often four year college graduates unable to find their preferred work opportunities, choose to go on these volunteer tours, helping charities along the way.  This provides meaningful experiences and another item for resumes.  The NPR reporter cited the difficult job market as the most important factor for the increase in volunteer tourism.

I am certainly in favor of ALL types of education.  Vocational, bachelor, and more advanced degrees are all useful.  But like “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe (see interview below) has said (paraphrased), “people are deluded if they believe a four year degree is a golden ticket that can substitute for hard work.”  And I think technical training is currently undervalued compared to the higher degrees.  A quote from Earl Knightingale used in Keenan Mann’s recent post on this site comes to mind:  ““Whatever the great majority is doing, in any circumstance, if you do the exact opposite, you’ll probably never make a mistake as long as you live.”   So young people with technical interests can take advantage of a ripe opportunity to do the exact opposite of what the majority is doing, and probably not make a mistake.

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