Tuesday, June 15, 2010

working with hands...

A summer job working for a plumber diverted Jarrad Taylor from Penn State to a career in the trades.

The photo is from an article in the Washington Post that tells how for many, working with hands in skilled trades is preferred, for a variety of reasons.

More college-educated jump tracks to become skilled manual laborers

I guess it could make us wonder why skilled work with the hands isn't a part of every child's education. Through at least two generations, skilled workmanship was disparaged, thought work for dummies. As the article points out, high school counselors encouraged those who were thought not bright enough for college to enter the trades. But work with the hands is intelligent and meaningful work. At some point, I hope that we can all understand that work with the hands is an enrichment of intelligence for all, even for those who ARE going to college.

Some of the new tradesmen (many of whom are women) note that it can be hard to explain the rewards of working with their hands to their college educated friends. You just can't explain some things to those who have absolutely no experience in what you're talking about. Educational Sloyd was intended for all children, and one of its benefits was to create a sense of the dignity of all labor. If we had stuck with Sloyd, instead of allowing it to decline we would have a completely different society, far more noble and supportive of skilled manual arts. And the matters of academia, business and government would be handled with far greater intelligence.

This is also interesting reading from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, A Jobs Mismatch, which suggests that we are failing to prepare our college educated students for available careers. First, far too few students complete their college educations, and second, too many universities fail to offer courses that prepare for actual careers.
The United States economy is in serious danger from a growing mismatch between the skills that will be needed for jobs being created and the educational backgrounds (or lack thereof) of would-be workers. That is the conclusion of a mammoth analysis of jobs data being released today (June 15, 2010) by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.
I would not have been able to choose a career while in college. I had no idea that a life as a craftsman was available to me. Nor do most children today. So there is a lot of good to say about a liberal arts education, but it should include some form of skilled craftsmanship as a requirement of the core curriculum.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous4:45 AM

    So is there a glimmer of hope that work with the hands could be recognized as a viable choice for life's work?