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Making American Skilled Labor Great Again



Webp.net-resizeimage-18-300x167For decades, vocational training has been waning. Fortunately, the Trump administration is dedicated to reversing this troubling trend. In 2017, President Donald Trump launched his first effort to restore vocational pursuits with an executive order that would, “Expand apprenticeships and vocational training to help all Americans find a rewarding career, earn a great living and support themselves and their families.” Furthermore, in 2018, Trump identified the pressing need for an American Renaissance in vocational training, stating, “You learn mechanical, you learn bricklaying and carpentry. We don’t have those things anymore.”

Skeptics claim that Trump’s pro-manual-labor measures are unnecessary. These critics argue that the progress made in automation and technology has lessened the value of the trades. They correctly point out that interest in manual labor has stalled and therefore claim that the pursuit of labor by one’s own body is consequently obsolete and irrelevant.

However, is it possible that the tech culture explosion has suppressed genuine interest and diverted talent from the traditional trades? Vacancies for vocational jobs have skyrocketed because there are so few qualified applicants. Since 2010, vacancies for carpenters, electricians, welders, and several other similar professions have been the highest among all industries. Furthermore, the average age for vocational employees has increased dramatically. Skilled trade workers older than 45 comprise more than 53 percent of the vocational labor force. On the other hand, the national average for employees older than 45 in all other industries is 44 percent. If this alarming trend is not addressed in the near future, Americans will have a rather difficult time finding qualified professionals for home repairs and other necessary services.



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  1. Back in the 80s, while a teen I told my father I wanted to be a brick layer,that is want I really wanted to do, I wanted to build things that would endure beyond my lifetime. My father took me down to the local where I heard the bad news.
    They told my father “Matt, he is white, we can’t get him in. We are under tremendous pressure to open the union up”.
    I was crushed. I tried and tried for years to get an apprenticeship only to be denied, passed over for diversity candidates (many who had substance abuse problems, did not show up etc). My father died when I was 18. I drifted from job to job looking for something else I might be passionate about, until I was 20 and finally went to college in order to get something going. Eventually I abandoned my dream of being a bricklayer. I went the serial entrepreneur route, doing brain work, and while I was successful and became a multi-millionaire I never found the passion or satisfaction I had for bricklaying. Weekends and evenings, thought far and few between, were always spent doing things with my hands, trying to build things that endured, things that gave me satisfaction.
    In my view society let me down from building an artificial barrier to my goal for the sake of diversity. I always wonder what might have been. I often pull over on the road to watch construction workers as they ply their trade and then reflect back on all the lines of code I wrote over the years that were replaced with new technologies or the management decisions I made, while timely then, are no longer relevant. So while I made some financial inroads for myself, nothing I have done has endured beyond building a finical legacy. So society denied me that which mattered to me because it valued diversity. Bravo.
    In like fashion many colleges deny people their dream for the sake of diversity and as pointed out society pressures people to think college is the be all and end all.