Can high school tech programs solve the skilled labor problem?

Resurging construction career-tech programs are successful, but need funding. 

January 22, 2016
Tradesman using bubble level

Recession lay-offs of skilled craftsmen created gaps in the construction labor force that are poised to get even wider in coming years as older workers retire. That creates two problems: a larger skilled labor shortage and a lack of experienced workers to pass on their knowledge.

One answer, according to a feature article at, may come from high school technical training programs. The programs are free to high school students and boast of high placement rates.

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I agree that high school students should start to learn trades in the construction industry. They should be able to learn all trades, not limited to mechanical portion. Sheetrock, taping, woodworking such as trim, hanging doors, setting cabinets, staircase/ railings. Roofing, siding, setting windows. I have been in the industry for 45 years, started at 12. Today's craftsmen are far gone with butchers learning only one item, money. There is no pride in the current work because they have not been introduced to this trade early in life. You don't have to be a PE, RA to make a good or a better living than certain professionals. School teacher makes $45k to $80k depending on how long they been teaching, a skilled carpenter can make $75k to $125k. Average Architect working for a firm will make $75k after spending 5 years in school, working with an Architect for another 2. It makes sense to teach kids now and see if this is a career opportunity they want to follow.

In the 60's my high school had dual program. Technical and college. The technical program was very well funded. It had a full-service automotive facility with 6 bays and year round classes. It had an agricultural department. It had a drafting and design department. It had a metals fabrications department, as well as a carpentry department. It is all gone now as it pushes everyone into college programs. We had a 97% graduation rate. Now it is 82%.

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