Here is a great bit from Dirty-Jobs bard Mike Rowe on the trades, in which Mr. Rowe repeats something I’ve been saying for years. Excerpt:
(Mr. Rowe speaking:) The welder is a really interesting example, because he’s like the freelancer-he doesn’t have a lance, he has a welding torch. And a good welder is a very artistic thing to watch. Many, many different kinds of welding exist, and the people who are good at it are almost savant-like. It used to be called the industrial arts.
All the press I read about the vanishing thing from high school was the arts. It really was voc-tech that went first and hardest. The idea that artistry can still exist with work is really important. When you separate work from artistry, you get the same problem you get when you separate clean from dirty or blue-collar from white-collar: You create a gap, and it’s that gap to which all sorts of things fall, including expectations, including opportunity, including millions of jobs.
I look at welding as maybe the best example of everything we’re talking about right now. The opportunities exist, the opportunities pay well and are wildly underserved, people don’t aspire to it, and yet everything in this room requires it. Whether it’s smooth roads or runways or cheap electricity or indoor plumbing or basic infrastructure: We used to look at the people that provided those services as vaguely heroic. Now it’s not that we disparage them, we just don’t look at them. And if we do, we just don’t see them.
In the linked article, Mike takes on the Democrat’s daffy old Bolshevik, Bernie Sanders, over the latter’s insistence on “free college” (Bernie has obviously never heard of TANSTAAFL). Bernie and many other pols in both parties have apparently forgotten that we as a nation also need truck drivers, and welders, and electricians, carpenters, pipe fitters, tradesmen of all kinds. These are occupations that are honorable, vital, good-paying, and also these are jobs for which many young folks can be well qualified with some decent voc-tech classes in high school/junior college and some apprenticeship. My old business partner and longtime good friend Jerry entered the work world with a high school diploma, went to work as an apprentice in the Newport News Shipyards, accumulated an impressive pile of welding certifications – then proceeded to invent a new design of hospital bed, which product he sold for well into seven figures.
Why, then, is it preferable for young people to instead rack up $150,000 in student debt to obtain a useless scrap of paper proclaiming their expertise in Minority Underwater Dog Polishing?
Frankly this country could use more Mike Rowes and fewer daffy old Bolshies and abject economic illiterates like Bernie Sanders.