The United States is in need of a labor workforce that will bring back a strong middle-class. Collaborations between government and business can help create these opportunities. Hundreds of thousands of these skilled-trade jobs are already in demand and are going unfilled. These $20 to $45 an hour jobs are left unfilled because we don’t have the skilled workers prepared for the positions. Filling these positions will benefit millions of Americans in low-paying jobs and lift many out of poverty. Here are some ways that we can build a strong skilled labor force.
Middle School Classes
Shop class can be a great opportunity to introduce young people to working with their hands. When I was in school, it was mandatory to take two years of shop class. I remember two particular projects in my shop class. The assignments were to make a wooden fish and a trivet. The fish started out as a 2×4. We were given long metal stripping, grout, and a bunch of small tiles to make the trivet. We had access to all kinds of machines to cut, grind, bend, sand and paint. There were students who ended up with a fish that looked better than ones you may see at an art fair. I ended up with a fish that looked more like a deformed dog. And the trivet wasn’t level enough to keep a pot from falling off! Today, there are many school districts that do not even offer these types of classes.
Thankfully there are individuals who love to use their hands and become highly skilled at a trade. For many, this love of working with their hands begins in middle school shop class.