Skilled Trade Workers Are Out Of This World
I was about to submit a different insight for this month’s first blog, but during my daily online reading, an article about the importance of skilled workers as we enter a new phase of space exploration caught my eye.
“ … Many different launch and crew vehicles, private space facilities, and other types of hardware are being constructed not only by government entities but also by private players, creating new and unprecedented markets in space.
“In most cases, however, it is not the university-educated professionals who are physically constructing the rockets, crew vehicles, and other mission-critical elements. It is (and will be) the welders, electricians, metal workers, machinists, plumbers and pipefitters, and innumerable other skilled trades workers. Their work must be flawless, or as flawless as is humanly possible, for such missions to succeed. No human future in space will happen without their invaluable contributions.
“Nevertheless, only rarely do we see or hear about these skilled tradespeople receiving the acknowledgments and accolades that they so rightfully deserve within the space community, and we feel that this is an injustice that must be rectified. While we still need to generate the top scientists, engineers, medical professionals and other university-trained professionals more than ever before, we also need a growing number of skilled workers to literally build our future in space.”
Amen. In my daily reading I see more and more tributes like these. With the shortage of skilled trade workers impacting more and more businesses, a realization is starting to set in that we are up to our ears in college graduates with dubious skills and knowledge applicable to the real world, while at the same time we are begging for more people who can actually build and fix things.
In many ways, we are returning to the world I knew growing up in a working-class neighborhood. Way back then, a small percentage of high school graduates went on to college and where I lived, skilled tradespeople held the most prestigious occupations. Now, more than 40% of our working population has a college degree. But guess what? College admissions and the courses they offer have been so dumbed down, most of today’s graduates aren’t able to read and write any better than the tradespeople I grew up admiring.
The skilled trades have always been of high value to our society. It’s good to see society at-large starting to acknowledge this once again.