Is Trade School The Future?

by Ashley Fern

The recession and successive slow recovery period has put a damper on college and graduate enrollment. Many people are realizing their money, time, and efforts are better spent on a narrow field that applies directly to their dream career.

Technical programs are typically much more hands on than traditional undergraduate programs. The learning environment these programs offer actually allows you to demonstrate and develop your skills in particular fields instead of simply reading about them in a textbook. Hands-on, practical training is an aspect that conventional undergraduate programs are significantly lacking.

The biggest problem facing the tech industry right now is a shortage of trained workers. As the skilled trades industry continues to use increasingly complicated computer equipment and technology, these programs are becoming much more desirable. Skilled trade personnel will always be in demand despite the economic climate at the time. Plumbers, electricians, and car mechanics will always have opportunities especially as technology continues to flourish.

In the today’s financial climate more working professionals are changing up their career goals and exploring different options through these types of programs. There are tons of careers that simply require some sort of certificate or two-year program such as paralegals and beauticians.

Many jobs that vocational schools prepare you for will pay more than those typically held by workers with a four-year college education. The notion that vocational schools are dumping grounds for students lacking strong academic skills is a thought of the past. Europe has been using vocational education systems for years now claiming they offer a more comprehensive education. This is emphasized in the fact that students are preparing for their careers at an earlier age.

"Vocational education programs have made a real difference in the lives of countless young people nationwide; they build self confidence and leadership skills by allowing students to utilize their unique gifts and talents."

Not everyone is cut out for the rigorous nature of a four-year university, but unfortunately our society makes it very difficult for young adults to even consider not going away to college. If students had a choice to focus on a particular skill they were good at and improve it, they should be able to do so without the anxiety of attending a traditional college program. This is a happy medium between high school and the career world.

We need to understand that our society needs a variety of skills in order to keep the economy afloat. Why is there such a push for high school graduates to pursue traditional school? These days there are more and more students continuing onto high education while there are fewer traditional jobs available.

A good friend of mine is a hair stylist and absolutely loves what she does. She said she could never imagine herself in a typical college setting because she always knew this was the path she wanted to pursue. She actually began her vocational studies during her high school years and has never regretted her decision. Nowadays it is much more important to focus on a career you love because that is what will result in self-fulfillment.

Vocational training is essential for our country. It allows for students to have the opportunity to really know what they want to pursue in their lives. Our society is saturated in certain areas of expertise and we need an alternative. We need to focus on student’s strengths and help place them in careers that would best suit their capabilities.

Schools like these help people become productive citizens who can make a difference in everyday life. Instead of looking down upon them as society often does, it may be time to encourage them.