Technical Education Post

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Sparking Interest in the Skilled Trades

Guiding people towards their natural talents is tricky. Aptitudes emerge through experiences and encouragement, which can be considered a luxury in the quest for success. Making the honor roll, or the promise of a prestigious career, can override the fuzzy process of finding one’s self.

This is particularly true for pursuing a skilled trade. Parents, educators and career coaches may not know a successful tradesperson, view college as the definitive elixir, or lack the resources to identify mechanical gifts. Standard testing and curriculums typically do not assess or develop core competencies required tor the trades.

Howard Gardner’s model of multiple intelligences includes bodily-kinesthetic (coordinating mind and body) and spatial (visualizing the world in 3D) — both critical for the trades. How does one discover that working with both mind and body would be most satisfying? Who is available to help explore a trade career option?

In Connecticut, some trade associations offer workshops for middle-aged kids, and technical high schools have open houses. But that is a hit-or-miss approach. When a surgeon noticed my husband’s scarred hands he asked how he could get his kids off their devices and interest them in actually making something. Despite 40 years in trade jobs, my husband did not have a concrete suggestion.

The trades require a reboot, through Boards of Education, bringing back shop classes and more veteran outreach at community colleges. Organizations such as Skills USA and Harbor Freight Tools for Schools are making inroads, but we must do better. Ignoring or undervaluing mechanical skills is a waste of talent and leads to a scarcity of trade professionals.

Visit our book series for more encouragement about skilled trade careers –

Georgian Lussier Sparking Interest in the Skilled Trades

Human Resources Consultant
Coming from a mechanical family, I am in awe of people who can take things apart and put them in working order. Or design a water flow or electrical system. Unfortunately, over the last few decades skilled trades have been undervalued. # hashtagelectrical hashtagmechanical hashtagharborfreighttoolsforschools hashtagSkillsUSA hashtagskilledtrade hashtagplumbing

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