Rethink trade schools

Discussion in 'General Distance Learning Discussions' started by chrisjm18, Jul 13, 2022.

  1. chrisjm18

    chrisjm18 Well-Known Member

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  2. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    That's a really illuminating story, Chris. Congrats to both Ms. Taunton and her husband on finding rewarding careers.
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  3. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    Canada has a similar stigma with college vs university, but I do think out colleges do a good job of providing job skills that people can use right now.
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  4. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    I think some do and some don't, Dustin. Mohawk College in my town has a separate Trades campus - established at a cost of many millions some time ago - and they have excellent facilities for learning trades there. I completed a Residential Construction and Design program at Mohawk around 15 years ago. Framing, plumbing, drafting and electrical courses were all held on that campus and they were well-equipped and well-instructed.

    On the same campus, I did a year of day school in 1995-6 for a Computer Networking and hardware Cert. It was well-taught - and OK-equipped for the day, but man, that stuff gets obsolete SO fast! And they have Health Care tech, programs galore - e.g. Cardiac Sonography. I hear very good reports of people getting well-paying jobs in those fields, right on graduation.

    The school has all kinds of pipelines into apprenticeships etc. Yeah - they do tech.

    George Brown College in Toronto also does tech. extremely well. Quite a bit by distance, too. their electronics Technician course has been franchised in some US schools. They wrap it with some Gen-ed requirements and serve it up as an Associate Degree.

    Niagara College (where I got my first College Diploma - 1989) has some unique vocational offerings. Being in a tourist area, they have a big Hospitality Campus. They have a brewery, a wine-making facility (and diploma courses.) Now, they also teach cultivation etc. of recreational marijuana, which is, of course, legal here. Tons of weed = tons of money.

    I hear good reports of vocational programs in Colleegs in other provinces too, particularly (but not exclusively) in Western Canada.

    All in all, there are some good vocational opportunities here in Colleges. I hear good things on that front in other provicens too.
    Dustin likes this.
  5. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    Oh, sure. The press regularly rediscovers trade schools. Heck, my first job out of the Navy came from my correspondence AAS from Cleveland Institute of Electronics. It's all very real and good. But I'm glad I had a BA and went to law school anyway. I've enjoyed much broader opportunities as a result.
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  6. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Indeed you have - made good opportunities with your law degree. But nowadays, as you know, SO many people have headed for law school - and many have succeeded there, only to find heartbreaking disappointment in the crowd of qualified, would-be lawyers who can't find work - due to their sheer numbers. You've expressed this caveat yourself, from time to time. It's good to focus on alternatives nowadays. The life-long single career is a somewhat rarer species, in these times. Sometimes you can't even kick-start the dang thing. "Gig economy" etc. Trade school is not a bottom-of-the-barrel last resort - not that anyone here said it was, of course ... :)
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2022
  7. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    If I had it all to do over again - which I don't, of course - and if I also had the power of VETO over my parents, which I would have needed - I'd have learned in school to build houses and fix cars. With those two skills, I could have made much more money than I did in an office - and lived better, not having to pay for things I could do on my own. Heck, I may have even enjoyed it. Yes, I think I would.

    But it wasn't to be. Fast-forward to my early 60s. I earned a cert. in Residential Design and Construction from my local Community College. The courses included some hands-on. with framing, electrical, plumbing and residential drafting. I particularly liked framing. Finally, there was a real use for high-school geometry! It was a very satisfying feeling, to finish those courses. I even took an extra one - in Log Building.

    Cars? Never did get around to learning properly. Might get around to them yet - but I don't think so. Different now - not as DIY as they used to be. Not even for mechanics. One mechanic I know had problems, when he bought a nice, good-running used Audi for his wife. The radio buttons needed resetting, and that required use of a re-programming card - kept in the vault at Audi dealers. He asked an Audi mechanic he knew, if he could use his card.

    The Audi guy said basically "Nope. Sorry - it doesn't work that way. YOU pay $80, WE program the buttons, using OUR card." Less and less stuff you can fix yourself - all kinds of dealer-only tools needed, etc. Maybe I'm better off not learning. Or maybe learn hot-rods. You can actually get a degree in those! Find myself a Ford Flathead...
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2022
  8. Maniac Craniac

    Maniac Craniac Moderator Staff Member

    College vs Trade School is a false dichotomy, as illustrated by your experience.

    College isn't for everyone, trade school isn't for everyone, some people do better with both and some people do better with neither. It's actually pretty obvious for anyone who doesn't write for USA Today.

    I've always wanted to learn a trade and I do still plan on doing so. I have no idea if I will actually ever work in that trade... but that's just weird old me, I guess. I still want to learn it even though I will have at least one graduate degree by then and may never get a financial payoff. Even if I did, I don't think I'd look back and believe that I wasted any time or money on pursuing higher education, when I can justify to myself all of the intangible ways I've benefited by putting myself through this wringer.
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  9. nosborne48

    nosborne48 Well-Known Member

    My beloved wife just bought herself a gigantic new pickup truck. I looked under the hood. Ah. Nope. Nothing there I want to mess with. I could do almost everything necessary to keep an old VW Bus running. Now? Is there a professional Doctor of Automotive Technology degree available?
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  10. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Better than that. PhD's and Professional Doctorates are available. Here are a PhD and a D. Eng. Nosborne, I leave it to your demonstrated educational acumen to determine the relative merits of each. Should be an easy call. :)

    U. Michigan, Dearborn has both PhD and Professional Doctorates (D. Eng.) programs in Automotive Tech. Google has other schools - some even in Canada. :)
  11. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Well, yeah - as I showed. But wouldn't you rather have a sweet deal on an old VW bus? :)
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  12. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    A problem with trade schools is the disconnect between quality learning outcomes (if any) and employment (if any).

    Our nation has tens of thousands of trade schools of incredibly varying quality. They all sell jobs, even though they cannot deliver them. Some are better than others in preparing graduates for employment.

    Some occupations have recognized accreditors covering their trade schools. My wife, when she decided she didn't want to be a family nurse practitioner anymore, she decided to become an aesthetician. That trade has a recognized accreditor, which give her more confidence in the quality of the school she chose and how well the field was regulated. (Aestheticians in our state must be licensed, and it isn't easy.)

    I've frequently advocated for a strong national qualifications framework that would incorporate all forms of tertiary education, tying them more closely to public funding and employers.
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  13. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    A very sound suggestion - works well in other countries. As a side benefit, it would tend to protect the consumer from exploitation and possible damage by unqualified hacks. The tradesperson would be qualified for their job - or they don't do that work. Your uncle can still fix your tap. That's off the books. Nobody needs to know.
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  14. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    There is a set of countries in East Asia, the "Asian Tigers," who used this approach to transform their economies. The literature on it--which I was fortunate to be exposed to while at Leicester--is fascinating.
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  15. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Indeed - I have a book on that very subject, from some years ago. Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea and Taiwan, IIRC. My, how they grew! :)
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  16. Rich Douglas

    Rich Douglas Well-Known Member

    Yes, and they did it purposely transforming agrarian economies into serious player in the high-tech arena.

    A big objection to it was these countries' dedication to funneling students into tracks appropriate to their gifts and societal needs. Concerns over freedom to make choices. Okay. In the U.S. for example, one of our most popular tracks is "Ignorance and Indolence," guaranteed to lead to a prominent (and near-permanent) position in your parents' basement. And the good news: there are always openings.
    Johann likes this.
  17. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Indeed. Surprise (not) : We have people like that in Canada, too. I've met 'em. Average age - mid to late 30s. Some thrown out of parents' basements - now live in more successful friends' basements - friends who have houses. Some have completed degrees - average time for completion - 6 years f/t for 3 year degree. Average student debt, 10 years after graduation, $60-70K. They have taken a permanent vow of "no payment." If they work, it's likely for minimum at a low-end retail chain. They console themselves with large quantities of take-out food, beer, now-legal marijuana and social media.
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2022
  18. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    Looks like cardiologists, cardiac sonographers and other health tech people will be VERY busy, some years down the line, as these people age. Good career tracks. Won't be long...
  19. Dustin

    Dustin Well-Known Member

    I knew a girl who took out $40K (CAD) in student loans to get a Bachelor's degree. After failing to find employment (she didn't pursue internships or any specific skill training so I'm not surprised), she decided to do a 2 year Social Service Worker diploma like I had. She took out $30K in loans for the 2 year program, using the loan to pay for room and board even though her parents offered her the use of her bedroom, they lived in town and by her own report they were nice people. She just wanted the "freedom" to be on her own.

    I shudder to think what her situation looks like now.
  20. Johann

    Johann Well-Known Member

    She's probably married to, or living with some guy whose situation is as bad as, or worse than her own. Somebody like the guy I talked about. They likely don't work at all and by now, have two or three kids who are struggling in school... You're a Social Services grad, Dustin. You know how this cycle works...
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2022

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