Tonawanda News

Opinion

April 30, 2013

CONFER: Choosing a trade over college, part II

Tonawanda News — When I was in high school some 20-plus years ago, BOCES was considered a dumping ground; those who pursued the vocational arts were looked at – by school administrators, parents, and peers alike — as sub-par students, kids who weren’t bright enough to hack the standard path of high school education, let alone the rigors of college. Times have changed and vocational education has become more acceptable to mainstream education but, still, a lot of today’s parents who were educated during that era still carry some long-held (and totally unacceptable) disdain for the program.

I would argue that today’s BOCES students – as well as those of my time – are some of the very brightest that we have. It takes a special collection of intelligence, common sense, and learning ability to excel in the breadth of knowledge and skills required by machining, mechanics, nursing, computers and the like.

They are also some of the brightest because they understand the future and their role in it.

As I mentioned in last week’s column, a lot of their college-interested friends have a troublesome future ahead of them because the job market has seen a saturation of college educated workers and it cannot accommodate them, leading to underemployment, unemployment and the unfortunate situation in which college-educated adults face a lower standard of living than their college-educated parents before them. On the other hand, teens and young adults who develop vocational skills see immediate rewards, long-term gain, and stability through even the worst economies because they are marketable, in demand, and in relatively low supply.

A perfect example would be machinists. Their prospects are overwhelming: Numerous studies have found that upwards of a half-million manufacturing jobs across the United States remain unfilled due to the lack of qualified candidates. As for being “qualified,” a college degree doesn’t cut it – but a certificate from a trade school does.

Text Only
Opinion
  • mug - adamczyk.jpg ADAMCZYK: Kenmore is a village made of bricks Buffalo and surrounding environs have brick buildings galore, often in the process of repurpose. Whole neighborhoods made of brick await development, redevelopment, gentrification, whatever wand will be waved at them to make them function again. Structures here tend not to be razed; they fall down occasionally but typically simply stand and wait.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • leffler, scott.jpg LEFFLER: Justice is blind -- and deaf and dumb I've always been intrigued by the concept of justice. I say concept because it really seems more theoretical to me than practical. One man's justice is another man's nightmare.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • confer, bob.jpg CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg For Sabres, more suffering is on tap

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • tucker, barb.jpg TUCKER: Taking down trees 'disheartening' Several readers have questioned the City of Tonawanda's tree removal program. An email to Jenna Koch, who represents the third ward and checks into any query on the city, explained the program.


    April 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • mug - adamczyk.jpg [Duplicate] ADAMCZYK: Letterman was on my side The announcement that Mr. Letterman is retiring from his groundbreaking television program, sometime in 2015, is already old news, but it gives opportunity to ponder a few truisms about history and modern life.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Leffler Mug 041114 [Duplicate] LEFFLER: 'Need to know' a double-edged sword Inquisitive doesn't begin to describe me. I must know everything. About everything. I hate being in the dark. I guess that's what makes my career choice so very obvious. I think "must know everything" is at the top of most journalists' trait lists.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wallace, Amy BW mug WALLACE: Airplane coverage has gone awry I don't know about you, but I am so sick of the cable news stations' constant coverage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

    April 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • LETTER: NIMAC grateful for NT support

    April 10, 2014

  • DuVall, Eric mug.jpg DUVALL: Making a list, checking it twice Maybe I was thinking about David Letterman's impending retirement. Or maybe it was because my brother posted it to Facebook. I spent a couple hours the other day crafting two top 10 lists, of my favorite books and movies.

    April 9, 2014 1 Photo