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Vocational Training can lead to Careers

15 Mar 2021 10:11 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Once upon a time, which I like to think was not that long ago, when you attended High School you had classes such as shop, auto mechanics and home economics as part of the offerings that you could take along with your academic requirements. Frankly, while my mother was an amazing and intelligent woman, domestic skills were not her strong suit. Probably the only reason I can sew a hem and do a few other basic things is because of the home economics class I took in High School. Often these classes just seemed like fun or they were an opportunity to be in a class with friends, but inevitably they taught you skills you could truly use in life and for some students they sparked a real interest that led them to continue on that track for career training.

Vocational training in High School can make a real difference in the lives of young people. People learn differently and have unique skills and talents that should be recognized and nurtured. Training in the trades in the construction industry or training for manufacturing lead to excellent careers. For many reasons, not the least of which is the high cost of a four year degree that can result in excessive student loan debt, a little over 30% of high school graduates will not go to college according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and almost 40% of those who start a four year degree will not finish. We cannot accept numbers like this without a plan to change them and vocational training should be a part of that plan.

Here locally, Sarasota Technical College and Manatee Technical College offer excellent programs that culminate in jobs and career opportunities upon graduation. Career Edge which is a part of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce offers fast-track programs at no cost to students which provides them the necessary training to get their foot in the door of a job day one after graduation. From there they receive more training and participate in apprenticeship programs that lead to solid careers.

The apprenticeship program offered through the local Air Conditioning Association – MAACA offers further education while the apprentices are working and earning a living. They work, go to school and make it through different levels of training to obtain a certification called NATE – North American Technician Excellence which is recognized around the world. These graduates can take their dreams and ambitions anywhere they choose.

At the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange we have many members that started their careers on the bottom rung of the ladder and now own the business! These business owners speak to young people in the schools to share their experiences and provide information about how to get training and get employed in their business. We also have met with Guidance and Career Counselors in both Manatee and Sarasota Counties to share this information so it can be a part of what they share with students about opportunities for their futures. Additionally, each year we conduct a Construction Career Rodeo and invite students from Manatee and Sarasota Counties to participate. The students get hands on experience at different stations put on by different companies and leave with information about how to apply for employment or in some cases with internship and apprenticeship opportunities before the day is over. We look forward to holding the next Construction Career Rodeo once it is deemed safe to hold these activities in schools again.

If you know a young person (or adult) who would like to know more about the opportunities provided by CareerEdge, they can be reached at (941) 556-4038. The GCBX website, www.gcbx.org has a job board where job opportunities are listed and updated regularly. Let’s work together to ensure that gainful employment is an opportunity for everyone in our community.

Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved
8433 Enterprise Circle, Suite 120
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Telephone (941) 907-7745
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