Mike Rowe champions the working class. He highlights how trade schools are important to the United States. We need people who will get their hands dirty.
Rowe often points out that college isn’t for everyone AND we don’t want it to be. We need people to be welders and plumbers and electricians. Those are very honorable professions that allow someone to provide a good lifelong income for his family.
So many students are saddled with massive college debt for degrees that don’t provide them any advantage. A bachelor’s degree in Women’s Studies isn’t going to prepare you for much, but a couple years at a trade school learning a trade will give you the skills that can take you far.
Rowe took to Facebook to challenge the myth of “free college” that Bernie Sanders is peddling. He thinks it’s an idea that is destructive as nothing is “free” and it also is a slap in the face to those in trade schools as it implies that education is inferior.
Consider the number of college graduates today, who can’t find work in their chosen field. Hundreds of thousands of highly educated twenty-somethings are either unemployed or getting paid a pittance to do something totally unrelated to the education they borrowed a fortune to acquire. Collectively, they hold 1.3 trillion dollars of debt, and no real training for the jobs that actually exist. Now, consider the countries widening skills gap – hundreds of thousands of good jobs gone begging because no one wants to learn a useful trade. It’s madness. ‘College For All’ might sound good on the campaign trail, but in real life, it’s a dangerous platitude that reinforces the ridiculous notion that college is for people who use their brains, and trade schools are for people who use their hands. As if the two can not be combined.
Last month, I was invited to comment on the annual list of America’s “Top Jobs” and “Top Schools,” (as determined by one of America’s “Top Magazines.”) I passed. Not just because I’m suspicious of lists – I passed because nowhere on the list of “top colleges” was a single trade school mentioned. Not a one. Not surprisingly, none of the careers my foundation supports made the list of “top jobs.”
This is a classic example of how society quietly discourages careers in the skilled trades. We don’t publish lists of careers called “Jobs We Don’t Want Our Kids To Do.” Instead, we publish “America’s Top Jobs,” and leave off dozens of critical professions. Likewise, no one makes a list called “Schools To Attend If You’re Not That Bright.” Instead, we announce the “Top Colleges,” and omit schools that train people for a whole category of critical vocations. It’s a brilliant way to reinforce the existing stereotype, promote a one-size-fits-all approach to education, and guarantee a workforce that’s dangerously out of balance. But the scariest thing about these lists, is not their obvious bias – it’s their degree of influence on otherwise sensible people.
Mike Rowe is right. People should be encouraged to attend trade schools. There is a shortage of skilled workers, so the demand for them is high. It is both irresponsible and incorrect to think of trade schools as being inferior to college.
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H/T: Mike Rowe