I was struck by a story on CBS’s Sunday Morning, “Rebuilding America’s pool of construction workers.” The story begins with the growing lack of skilled construction workers. The statistics are fascinating and speak to a bigger picture of our jobs focused economic rhetoric. One of the many reasons I wanted to become a coach is because I would consistently hear from business owners who couldn’t find good employees yet listen to politic campaigns of the past 10 years…no wait….the past forever…say that there aren’t enough jobs. Could it be a bigger conversation on perspectives? I want to contribute to bridging this gap in jobs perspectives and based on this CBS story….I’m not alone.
CBS interviewed Kurt Adam, assistant superintendent at Lehigh Career & Technical Institute near Allentown, Pennsylvania about the perspective of students who attend Vo-Tech Schools. A student told the reporter that tech kids are thought to be “stupid.” This perception still exists despite the overwhelming need for skilled trades and the ability for these students to graduate high school with jobs paying over $50,000 per year. I had the opportunity to tour my neighboring community’s Vo-Tech…Van Buren Technology Center in Lawrence, Michigan. The experience was incredible. I’ve never met such inspired teachers and motivated students. There was nothing “stupid” about any conversation I had on that tour. I was beyond impressed.
I met students like Jody Ann Young who was interviewed for CBS. As she spoke about her experience learning the plumbing trade and her future plans….all I could think of as a coach was….WOW….she is a future entrepreneur and employer in her community. This perspective switch doesn’t take that much. Try it with me…working with your hands and being physical, a high paying job out of high school, making your own schedule, owning your own business in the future, graduating high school with your degree and no student loan debt….sure doesn’t sound like anything stupid to me.
How about you? What is your perspective of skilled trades? What other perspectives do you hold that can be challenged? Check out the video from the newscast! Share your thoughts in the comments…
*Check out my latest article on LinkedIn, Coffee and Conflict. I tell the story of being caught next to an intense conflict while at a coffee shop. The lessons I gained were invaluable.
**Last week’s September Book Giveaway Winner of our final book, Bruce Springsteen’s Born to Run was Susan McDermont of Grand Rapids, Michigan.