Several months ago, I watched Mike Rowe’s video about the terribly high costs of college and began reading his website. I was very impressed by the statistics he presented about the American Workforce and very compelled by the information about skilled labor and the trades. I am so pleased that Ethan is receiving very strong job training at The Midland School and I began thinking about it for the other boys.
Dennis and I have been talking a lot about our boys’ propensities and what resources and experiences we would want to make available to them as part of their education. These conversations led us straight to Somerset County Vocation and Technical High School. SCVTHS is a free, public school offered to students in our county.
We were thoroughly impressed by the education offered at this expansive, clean and well-run facility. We found the men that ran the programs were highly skilled and had had extensive experience in their trades before coming to the school. Several were college educated, as well as being experts in their trades. We found meticulously run shops full of young men (almost exclusively) engaged in hands-on projects. One of the shops contained 1/2 of a house that was framed by the Carpentry Program, wired by the Electrical Program and plumbed by the Plumbing Department. It was awesome to see how far these teenagers had come and the skills they gained. We heard about self-paced programs, paid apprenticeships and many of the students choosing to go on to secondary schools and college programs.
I was amazed that in addition to their high school diplomas, these young people will have the ability to worked at skilled, and highly paid jobs. The school boasted a plethora of employers ready to pay these young men during their senior years and continuing as they work their way through further schooling. If they never choose to use this training for future vocations, they are competent and prepared to fix their own homes and vehicles and to be a useful benefit to their communities.
The school is open to homeschoolers attending part-time. This option would allow for students to continue meeting their academic requirements in a homeschool program and attend the school program for the job skills component.
As Gavin and Dennis and I work together to create a vision of what his ‘high school’ years could include and accomplish, we were all excited to find a place that can offer an education that would give him some super-powers that very few young people possess these days – the ability to build and fix the things that keep our society running. I have a feeling you’ll hear more about this option in the coming year. 🙂
“You’ve got a lot of very, very smart people standing by
waiting for somebody else to do the work.
Not a recipe for long-term solvency,
in my opinion.” ~ Mike Rowe
The programs we toured at SCVTHS were very ‘boy-centric’. We did see two young women – one in auto body and one in welding. I think these girls and their parents are very wise to pursue this type of training. We noted that the Culinary program looked like it was very split between male and female participants and we suspected that the Fine Arts and Cosmetology Departments were heavily populated with young women 🙂