Whence the plumbers and welders?

As a former admin of a college with a reputation for teacher preparation, I often wonder how the work we do has any effect on the future. Sure, there are teachers that were prepared by our program 30, 40, 50 years ago who are still teaching. There is also a forest full of teachers prepared by our program that haven’t stayed with teaching even the three years needed for “tenure” within the state education system.

And then I wonder about the second level outcomes. What happens to the students of those teachers? What do they pursue as interests? What careers are they pursuing? And then I hit upon some careers that don’t seem to have direct preparation by these traditional disciplines.

Electricians, Plumbers, and Welders are three. Any discussion about infrastructure includes these three professions, and only tangetnially highlights the central importance of these careers/professions. Despite the importance of these folsk, I don’t see where there was any kind of preparation in K-12.

Where do they come from? Where do those folks learn about those professions? If it wasn’t during their K-12 experience, what did they do during their K-12 experience? What kinds of “standard experience” did those folks benefit learning?

When I was growing up, there was a place called the Vocational Technical School that prepared folks for those careers/professions (including building trades, baking, cooking, electronic repair, office admin, etc.). The school system allowed folks to cross the street during an afternoon or morning to pursue their profession. That pathway made a whole lot of sense. Does it exist now? If not, why not?

We need folks who are prepared for more than just a prototypical college entrance experience.

JeffKenton.com @jkenton