The answer is that there is no answer. Germany is a nation renowned for the high caliber of its trade workers and the goods they produce in construction and manufacturing. A big reason is a system for identifying mechanically adept individuals early on and tracking them into trade careers via apprenticeships....

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A well-rounded person needs both.   I feel blessed to have graduated (class of 1965) from one of the best public high schools in the country — Lane Technical in Chicago. Then as now, Lane Tech ranked among national leaders in graduation and college admission rates. Lane graduates get accepted...

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Every generation freaks out its parents!   Back in the Roaring Twenties most older folks couldn’t understand their children’s fascination with a new style of music known as jazz – “the devil’s music,” as it was widely called. Those children grew up to be just as shocked when an even...

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Legal or not, you’ll have to choose between a career and getting high.   We live in a society in which use of marijuana and other illegal drugs is widespread. One recent survey showed that about one out of 11 Americans uses illicit drugs regularly. Another says that 38% have tried marijuana at...

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Service firms in particular clamor for female technicians.   Okay, this myth is admittedly hard to refute. Most estimates peg females as only about 2% to 2.5% of all skilled trade workers. That’s probably doubled since the rise of feminism in the 1960s, but progress has been at a snail’s pace....

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Job security is higher for skilled trade workers than most other occupations.   This myth originates in the fact that construction work is highly cyclical. While it’s true that when work slows down many construction workers get let go, this deserves a closer look. In my last entry I said that...

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Performance pay often leads to six-figure incomes.   How much do trade workers earn? That’s a difficult question to answer definitively because so much depends on the type of work (construction versus service, residential vs. commercial, etc.), geographic region and other factors, not least of...

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Service work is a lot different than new construction.   It’s a half-truth that the work of the trades is dirty and dangerous. A construction project is fascinating to watch, which is why big job sites usually have a fenced-off area with peep holes for onlookers. If you’ve ever poked your head...

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They say the trades are only for those who aren’t “cut out” for college.   Let’s not mince words. A large segment of our society is biased against blue-collar workers. It wasn’t always that way in America. Our founding fathers included numerous artisans and craft workers. Paul Revere was...

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