Sunday, October 3, 2010

Today: a thoughtful post for a change

A couple of days ago I was in a body shop. The automotive kind, and NOT Madam Dolinski's House of 1000 Delights. I was yakking with an older guy that had painted cars for about 25 years and also taught body work at a local Vo-Tech school.

He told me that he made a pretty good living.

His teaching had also given him a little insight.

He told me that for every graduate of a Vo-Tech school there were 10 available jobs. He also pointed out that for every 10 college graduates there is 1 available job.

Now this is something that doesn't surprise me at all.

Americans are always looking for people that can DO things.

They need people that can build houses, fix leaky plumbing and mend a leaky roof. They need hands on people, yet they really don't hold them with the proper respect and think that these people are not as bright as they really are.

I once heard a woman telling asomeone else that her son wasn't doing well in mathematics and that perhaps she ought to get him to take carpentry courses.

What was that woman thinking?

Have you ever looked at the angles and layoutof the dormer of a framed house that hasn't been sheathed? It can be a geometrists nightmare. How in the hell aare all those cuts and angles figured out?

You guessed it, math.


Look at the math used to figure out circuits.

Tradesman are not stupid, and with the way things are today an auto mechanic needs computer skills. The days of a Sears tool set and a shade tree are long gone.

Yet we hold tradesman as being less useful than a college graduate. It ain't right.

A while back I gave a wooman a shot of reality when she was bragging that here kid was going to college instead of the Navy like the other kid next door was.

I told her that IF her son found a job out of school that he was most likely to spend his first couple of years making coffee and running a copier. Then I pointed out that the kid next door was going to be responsible for handling multi-million dollar aircraft on a heaving flight deck.

When she feebly countered that there wasn't much responsibility in that, I pointed out that the kid in the Navy was part of a team managing a multi BILLION dollar federal asset.

Then I came in for the kill. I believe it was Lee Iacocca (or someone equivilent) that came aboard a carrier and saw some nineteen year-old parking multi million dollar aircraft. He looked at the young man, aghast and asked him where his supervisor was.

"Who gives a damn, now how about you getting the hell out of my way so I can park this airplane," was the reply.

We're talking about a kid that was in high school a little more than a year earlier.

College isn't the answer for everyone.

A few years ago I was listening to a show on the tube about the civil rights movement of the sixties. One of the guys on it was trying to get George Wallace booted out of the governors seat.

Wallace, as you may recall, was a strict segregationist.

The former civil rights worker recalled talking to his grandmaother asking her who she was going to vote for and the old woman said, "George Wallace has opened more vocational and technical schools than anyone else ever has. I think I'll vote for him."

The civil rights worker was aghast.

Then again, the old woman wasn't really worried about where on the bus her grandbaby had to sit. She was worried about how he was going to make a living. Sitting on the back of the bus on the way home while coming home with a decent paycheck wasn't all that bad a deal to the old woman.

Makes sense to me. I'd sit on the back of the bus on my way to the bank.

Then when I got off, I'd laugh at the jerks making minimum wage.

I think it's about half a century too late to look at if college is for everyone.

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