When it comes to keeping craft alive, an increased recognition of the severe need for trained tradespeople is a solid step in the right direction. Recently, PBS featured Matt Krupnick’s The Hechinger Report article that reports that after decades of promoting a college track, the U.S. is in desperate need of trained tradespeople.
His article focuses on California, and Krupnick reports the state is spending $200 million on its vocational education system and an additional $6 million to promote it. While less money, the latter point is significant. Krupnick quotes College of the Sequoias welding instructor Randy Emery who states, “It’s a cultural rebuild.”
Krupnick reports that, according to federal numbers, only 8 percent of high graduates enrolled in an undergraduate program are enrolled in certificate programs, which tend to be vocationally oriented. He adds that the U.S. has 30 million positions paying an average of $55,000 annually and people with career and technical credentials have better odds of finding employment than their peers with academic educations.
According to Krupnick’s article, more than half of the tradespeople work force was over 45 in 2012. That means the demand for trained workers will increase as a large portion of the existing workforce will be retiring soon.
You can read Krupnick’s full article here.
Photo from PBS NewsHour’s Student Reporting Labs series “Outside the Box.”