Once upon a time, middle and senior high schools in the nation would offer classes that were lumped under the heading of Vo-tech – which including sewing and cooking as well as classes in learning the basics of wood and metal working. Some schools even offered more extensive choices such as plastics and drafting classes. Though not every student may have liked the experience, others may have been enthralled with the idea of learning a valuable trade to aim for after their high school years had been completed.
Along those lines, many high schools then decided to set-up what were referred to as vocational high schools. These schools were set up for high school juniors to attend for the last two years of their education in order to focus on a trade that appealed to their talents, interests and abilities. Many of these schools offered the basis academic courses as well as classes in the vocation of their choosing. The high school in my hometown offered a wide variety of trades that included earning certificates in fields as diverse as cosmetology, automotives, plumbing and heating or even computer technology.
Unfortunately, while these schools often offered a lifeline to the students who did not feel called to attend college, there was sometimes a stigma attached to the idea of *settling* for a vocation rather trying to earn a degree at a 2- or 4-year degree at an institution beyond high school. This stigma was unfounded as many of these Vo-tech graduates went on to obtaining a position at a company that allowed them to use the skills they had worked hard to attain. In fact, many of these former students went on to set-up successful businesses that supplied much needed goods and services in their chosen career fields.
While the graduates of these schools often achieved great success in their lives as a result of the education and trades that they were exposed to, these schools began to fall out of favor once the internet and technology fields saw huge advancements in applications and uses. Educators seemed to steer students away from the manufacturing careers in favor of more technology and service driven fields. While there were still schools that were dedicated to providing some of the skills needed for trades and medical careers, these types of schools feel increasingly out of favor. Students who wanted to learn a trade were often forced to seek out opportunities beyond their high school.
As the country moved farther and farther away from manufacturing jobs, the need for skilled trades- people also declined. Now, the nation is often forced to obtain goods from outside sources. These goods may be produced for less cost, but there has been no end of scandals relating to inferior materials or shoddy workmanship. Indeed, there has been a rising demand for American made products that cannot be met easily due to the loss of manufacturing companies.
It may be time to bring back the vocations and allow our youth the opportunity to excel in the trades of their choice.
Writer Bio: Angela Mose
I am a mom of 7 who has successfully homeschooled for 20 years. I was married for more than 25 years and have recently started my life over. I have a passion for writing and music and when the two can be combined, it is utopia. A Maryland native, I am planning to relocate north in the near future and will continue to strive to learn and experience new things on a regular basis. I am fortunate enough to be able to work from home while exploring new ways to increase my knowledge and skills and help improve the lives of those around me.