In today’s Washington Post, Jeffrey Selingo notes that one of the promises that got Trump elected was his idea of bringing back the good, old-fashioned, hands-on manufacturing jobs. But as Selingo points out, this promise, like many others made on the campaign trail, is easier said than done – for both young and old.
As Selingo goes on to explain, manufacturing jobs have become so high-tech that many middle-age workers are ill-equipped and unable to do them. That scenario leaves those manufacturing jobs for the generation young enough to be trained and educated simultaneously through apprenticeships – but there too, lies a significant problem.
The problem, Selingo relates, is that many young people fight an uphill battle when choosing to skip college and opt for an apprenticeship:
“Nearly everyone enrolled in apprenticeship programs that I met told me of teachers, counselors and parents along the way who discouraged them, warning them that skipping the four-year college route out of high school would turn out to be a mistake.
‘Teachers and guidance counselors only talk about college as the way to a good life,’ Shinn [an apprenticeship graduate] said. ‘College is not for everyone. I wish more of them could see what I do all day. I don’t have a mindless manufacturing job.”
There’s a lot of talk these days about doing everything possible to ensure the next generation can get on its own two feet, be successful, and live thriving lives. So much so, that many are even willing to offer free college in order to accomplish this end. But are we barking up the wrong tree?
The old proverb says that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Will the well-meaning pressure from teachers, parents, and elected officials to push many young people away from the hands-on training that apprenticeships offer lead our country into further destruction?
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