We need education for those NOT going to college

The following was in response to a 7/23/10 blog posting by Dave Opton of Execunet:


What about those not going to college?

It’s true that K-12 have not been taking the science/engineering path.  It’s perceived to be too hard for most.  Since I was an engineering undergrad a few centuries ago, I can understand the frustration.  I mean, who wants to do all that work if they can have it easier and make more money?  Okay, moving into an executive role later may help if you are interested in making money or making more of a contribution in your work.  Some aren’t.

Most parents are just happy to have their kids going to college.  And most of the HS programs are geared to do just that.  And I do not begrudge them that.

I’m a Manufacturing executive at Focused Solutions Group.  Do you know about http://ratzenberger.com/manufacturing.php or http://www.nutsandboltsfoundation.org?

The HS guidance teachers are so focused on getting kids into college that kids who are not going to college get forgotten about.  Meanwhile there are some fairly decent paying jobs in manufacturing these days, especially for operating some of the computerized equipment we use these days.

So back to my original question: What about those not going to college?  We need every Guidance counselor to realize whether or not they make their goal of 95% going to college, they need to guide 100% of the students to be the best they can be (no disrespect to most GCs).  And if we want to keep Manufacturing in the US (and I think we need to, but that’s a much longer discussion), we need to help those kids get properly trained to handle today’s manufacturing jobs.

I am also active in Manufacturing networks in New Jersey and I can tell you that my fellow small business owners lament the lack of quality help and vocational education every day.  Many state and county governments are not doing it well.  Pennsylvania does have a nice program, though.

I would like to see every child go to college.  And most into the sciences.  But that’s not practical.  So I’m talking about a path for those who don’t.  Perhaps we need some breadcrumbs to make that path more clear.


Tom Smith