Join Kipp Bradford for an in-depth discussion in this video Educational pathways, part of Skilled Trades: Manufacturing Careers.
- It's no secret that by and large U.S. schools focus on preparing kids for college rather than on a future in the skilled trades. - A lot of people pushed their kids to go into a four-year, to six, to eight, whatever-year degree because they want, just like every parent wants their kid to do better. But I think that what some people have missed is that there are people out there that do want to have that quote-unquote blue collar life. But I think that that blue collar image is starting to change. I don't think that it's necessarily looked down upon as it was before. Especially right now where all of the baby boomers are starting to retire and there's nobody to take over. It's really critical right now that people start jumping into these jobs and getting trained in them so we can continue on. Otherwise, we're going to have a big gap for a little bit and we're really going to be behind the ball. - There's some students who don't necessarily want to venture into post-secondary education upon graduation, and electronics manufacturing is a great opportunity for them to leave Davies and go right into the workforce. - So if you went to a high school right now and went in there and polled 100, 200 of their student and asked them how many people knew what a machinist was, I would say probably 5% at the very most, and that may be aggressive. And those that did probably would have somebody in the family that is a machinist, and they may have some difficulty even explaining that. So because of that, it's a hidden gem. There's a lot of opportunity out there. People don't know about this. So I think for people that go into that, there's no limit as to what they can do in their future going forward. - If you're interested in an alternative path, a quick web search can reveal a variety of attractive educational pathways that'll help you begin a manufacturing career. Career and technical educational programs, often referred to as CTE programs, are job-focused degree and certification programs that are offered by some public schools as well as private trade-oriented institutions. - When students first come to Davies and they hear about the machine technology program, a lot of them don't even know what it is. They don't quite understand what it is. They understand there's machines and there's technology, but they don't know how the two come together. So that's actually one of the things how I promote the shop is I try to relate to them. I try to like ask them questions. Hey, how do you think this was made? How do you think that was made? I ask them to take everything out of their pockets. Take everything out and I ask them where do you think those things came from. So that's where I start to get their interests. So they're understanding how a cellphone's made, they're understanding all the parts that are inside of a cell phone, where I'd that come from. - You will spend time in the classroom learning fundamental skills and you'll spend time in the lab learning how to apply these skills. - I really liked the idea of being hands on. You really get that hands on environment here. You look at a schematic and then you get to build it. - What they do is they do a classroom for three weeks, they go on a job shadow, and then every other week they come back to the classroom. The classroom activity is in the morning from eight to 12. In the afternoon, they have math remediation, they take OSHA classes, job readiness classes, resume classes. So if they take advantage of this whole program, it's very structured and after 20 weeks at this point if they follow through and apply themselves, they're going to be a success. - The program that we're running right now is 8:30 to five, five days a week. We tried to minimize the amount of homework because we realized that a fair number of our students are mid career or early career changers and so that they have other activities in their life. - What's great about these programs is they're typically taught by experienced professionals who worked in the industry that they're teaching about and the labs have machines similar to what you'd be using on the job. These educational programs can be fairly broad and are similar to traditional degree programs or diploma programs. They provide some math and science education, literacy skills, and problem-solving skills in addition to broadly covering safety and industrial skills that might be encountered in advanced manufacturing environments. After you get hired for a particular job, you'll typically receive on-the-job training. This is job-specific and often machine-specific education about the safe and effective operation of the tools and machines you'll be responsible for running and maintaining in your career. Sometimes companies also offer apprenticeship programs. These programs are essentially combinations of both career and technical education plus on-the-job training. This educational pathway involves a longer time commitment from both the company and the apprentice. It's worth it to explore multiple options. You will find a pathway that's right for you that fits your needs and your schedule.