Technical Education is a Ticket to the American Dream

At a time when many high schools have reduced the number of “shop” classes, there is more demand for skilled workers who know how things work, ways to take them apart, repair them and keep them running. Parents who have been pushing their high school age students to go to a four year university may not realize the earning potential of employees with hands-on technical skills.

Students who gain practical expertise through Career Technical Education courses at community college can qualify for jobs that pay well and offer excellent careers. If they want to continue on to university, they can find work that is much more highly paid to fund their continued education.

California Community Colleges in the Central Valley are preparing students to work in highly paid, in-demand advanced manufacturing careers. Students who enjoy hands-on activities are likely to thrive in the well-equipped labs at neighboring colleges.

For example, students can learn technical drafting using design software that is applicable to architecture, construction and product development. In welding, they can gain knowledge about different metals, essential math skills and prized welding certification that could lead to positions with utilities, contractors, manufacturers, and gas and oil companies. Students can complete certificates as well as earn AA degrees that will equip them to work and pay for continuing their schooling.

An August 25, 2014 Bloomberg news article, Shop Class Not for Slackers as Mechanic Out-Earns Peers, describes how a 19 year old is able to earn more than college graduates with his practical mechanical skills. According to the article, “a local auto dealer desperate for mechanics hired him as an apprentice in the service bay. Now he’s earning about three times as much as the average 19-year-old high school grad and slightly more than the national median, according the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

In response to businesses’ growing need for skilled workers, more funding has been made available nationally for technical education, according to the article. “This year, for the first time in a decade, the U.S. government boosted funding for high school and college vocational education, though the $1.125 billion war chest is $188 million smaller than it was in 2004.”

To learn about the preparation coursework offered by colleges in the Central Valley, you can go to the Central Valley Manufacturing website college page by clicking here and find links to Career Technical Education programs.

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