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Column: Trump Hits On SOTU Vo-Tech Solution

The Trickle Down

The Trickle Down is Salute Magazine‘s weekly column by Political Writer Amanda Godula.  The Trickle Down is a weekly look into what’s need-to-know, fresh takes on trends, and the inevitable controversies from the political arena. Let’s dig in and see what’s happening this week.

A vo-tech focus on education might be good for the economy and education.

For the first time, children are not living better than the previous generation.  A research group in 2016 showed that only half of 1980s born will earn more than their parents.  Millennials earned bachelor’s degrees at a higher rate, yet they are not excelling more than previous generations.  Why?

Maybe it’s the type of education they’ve received.

“Let us open great vocational schools so our future workers can learn a craft and realize their full potential,” President Donald Trump said in his State of the Union speech Tuesday night.

Is vocational/technical education the way to go?  The American economy says yes.

States are expressing the need for trades, like California and Texas (especially after Hurricane Harvey), and not a soaring number for bachelor’s degrees.

According to a 2017 Gallup poll, bachelor’s degree holders are more likely to regret their education than vo-tech education and most other degrees.

Trump seemed to hit on the pulse of the working class – vo-tech might be how you fill the void in the dwindling, but much-needed skilled trades workforce.  Reinforcing this idea, Trump told an All-American anecdote of man who created his future by working with his hands.

Corey [Adams] is an all-American worker. He supported himself through high school, lost his job during the 2008 recession, and was later hired by [his employer], where he trained to become a welder.”

By all accounts, Adams is doing well in the skilled trades.  And Adams might be the story a lot of people understand.

Skilled trades are in demand, but the supply is not what it once was.  And, the skilled trades labor force is only aging, leaving an impending shortage for future generations.

“It’s a huge supply and demand issue,” Co-President of Klein Tools Mark Klein said of his company which makes products for the electrical industry and electricians. “This could be a very large problem.”

Investing in vo-tech education could be the solution to a growing problem.  Maybe the adage of traditional college isn’t for everyone does apply here – just ask the bachelor’s degree holders.

Trump gave us a workable, adult solution in his SOTU.  As apprehensive as many may be to embrace a Trump idea, this one offers tangible and feasible solutions to help a problem.  This idea can be bipartisan because a booming economy helps both sides of the aisle.

In a political climate of incredible partisanship and division, let’s cherry pick a good idea, from an otherwise divisive speaker, and actually work to make America great again (in skilled trades) with vo-tech.

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