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Why America Needs Skilled Craftsmen

Why America Needs Skilled CraftsmenHigh school students have for decades been taught that you need to go to college to get a degree if you ever want a chance at landing a good paying job. I was one of the millions of students who went to college because…well…that’s what you do when high school is done.

Even the president is talking about how important college is. He plans to make community college free for the taking so more people can get on the path to having a degree.

Our society has almost made the lack of a college degree a scarlet letter. Something that will hopefully be cured in due time.

In a time when there is so much unemployment and under-employment, we need people with more than a slip of paper that says they have completed a course of study.

We Need You!

There have been an increasing number of studies and articles published lately that speak to this very issue like this one on NPR.

We need skilled craftsmen and trades workers in this country. We need people who know how to work with their hands. People who can turn a chunk of wood into a table or window or any number of things other people want.

Things need to be built in America and they need to be built well. Bridges and roads, houses and furniture, dams, clothes, lights, whatever it is, it still needs to be built. Maybe we will sub it out to China and maybe we won’t, but either way, we need to know how to build it.

How do we get more of those people?

Well, the first thing is, if you are one of those talented craftsmen, you need to be willing to train the next generation. You need to pass on the skills and training you have acquired over the years freely and not jealously guard them.

Hiding away our skills so the next generation can’t “take our jobs away” is no kind of plan. I’ve got news for you, all of us are going to give up our jobs to the next generation at some point.

It’s not by keeping others down that we keep our place in the market, it’s by continuing to grow and become better every day at what we do.

Learn By Doing

There are some things that you can learn and become proficient at just by reading a book or studying enough math problems, but most things in life require you to actually do it to become good.

To become a good public speaker, you need to start speaking in front of people. To become a great public speaker, you need start speaking in front of people A LOT!

The same goes for any hands-on skill. If you want to build houses, your first few houses are probably not anything that I would like to live in, but with each passing house, you will get better and better.

What if I Fail?

The younger generations in America have been so protected from failure that they are often afraid to try anything new. What if I fail?

Failure is the greatest teacher and I’m not the only one who thinks so.

  • “It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might has well not have lived at all, in which case you have failed by default.” – J.K. Rowling
  • “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison
  • “It’s fine to celebrate success, but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.” – Bill Gates

If you fail, then that means you’ve tried, and trying is the start of everything. After you fail, go back and try it again and again and again until you get it right.

Moral of the story: Don’t be afraid to fail. It’s part of the process.

So, if you’re thinking about starting a little business building widgets in your garage, I say go for it! If you are wondering if you should go to college or follow your dream to be an electrician, I say go for it! Whatever it is if it is your dream, I say GO FOR IT!

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6 thoughts on “Why America Needs Skilled Craftsmen

  1. I retired from att. My father was a carpenter and taught me the trade I always worked with wood and never could understand when I was building something people would say wow how do you know how to do that? I am thinking don’t everyone know how to do this.I am now building vintage birdhouses and selling them to nurseries and gift shops .Business is good.Thanks dad you taught me well.

  2. So true. I was blessed that my father-in-law passed on his love of woodworking to my son. Pops never went to college but learned from his father. So true that some things just need to be hands on and not from a classroom. When my son was in 7th grade his home ec teacher couldn’t thread the sewing machine at school. So my son did it for him. He learned it from his grandma when he was 3 because she had arthritis and couldn’t do it herself. In 8th grade he designed and built the welding tables for shop class, because the teacher didn’t know where to begin. That skill he learned from his dad. These where college educated people and a farm boy had to come to their rescue. My son finished high school 5 years ago and got his CDL with in 3 months of graduation and with in one day had a job hauling corn. No tech school, just practice with friends who had trucks and trailers.

  3. You can’t outsource the plumber, the electrician or the home builder. It is time that we value folks who work with their hands and consider all trades as occupations worthy of respect. Plus we need skilled craftsmen and women who know how to do things the old way and the right way, not just the expedient way.

  4. The world is pretty complex and to succeed in anything, the crafts especially, one needs to be able to operate and collaborate in the technical world as well as the crafts world. I believe for a craftsman/woman, they must have education beyond HS as well as craft ability.

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