Vocational Technical Programs

Whether you like or dislike our president. Whether you believe or don’t believe him. He mentioned that he wanted to bring vocational / technical programs back to our public schools. Based on Facebook post I have seen, this is a popular idea. As a father, I encouraged my youngest son to pursue a career as an union electrician. He could have pursued a college education, but I saw someone that had excellent mechanical aptitude and excellent eye hand coordination. As a guidance counselor and a businessman, I saw the financial advantages in a skilled career. Although many others disagreed with my suggestion, and although he could have gone to college, he graduated from high school and was able to go through a five year apprentice program and become a successful union electrician.

He didn’t apply to a vocational technical school, but there were still some classes at his high school that he took and he was able to work with me on a rental house that I was remodeling. My oldest son, who went to High Point University on an academic scholarship, also enjoyed the vocational technical classes that were available in his high school. Having these skills have helped them as home owners. Because I have worked on houses since I was a boy with my grandfather, father and uncles I have always been able to do my own remodeling on my rentals and my homes. My wife often tells me how great it is to have a husband that can fix things.

If you look at most high schools today, you will see an academic model that is preparing all students to go to college / university and they publicize the number of student that go to prestigious universities and the value of the scholarships that their graduates received. What you don’t hear is the success of the students that were in special education programs and how successful they have been in finding competitive employment. You will hear about how successful the school was in terms of those students on state tests and areas that need improvement based on those tests. I think we are finally at the point where vocational technical programs can once again be a major asset in our schools. The ability to focus on life skills (cooking, nutrition, budgeting, building good credit and financial planning) may have finally reached an awareness level that will allow those programs to return to our schools.

This is not a done deal and will require a significant push from citizens to push these ideas with politicians and appointed educational leaders. Many of these politicians and educational leaders only have an experience of academic success and professional goals. They also have to pay to have someone fix something at their house, on their car or with their technology. Then they often complain about the cost. Let’s talk to anyone that will listen and advocate vocational, technical and life skills for our schools. I would love to hear your thoughts and comments.

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I have a BA in Psychology and a teaching certificate as a Special Education teacher. I have a MA in Student Personnel Services and I recently retired from my position as a Guidance Counselor. I have been active on advisory boards concerning disability issues for over 25 years. I also have over 25 years of business experience in Human Resources and Operations Management.

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