Speaking of education

Connecticut small manufacturers want the state to strengthen vocational tech schools. This seems like a no-brainer to me. Not every kid is college material and, given the crazy cost of college these days and the dismal job market for college grads, maybe most kids shouldn’t go.

On the other hand, there’s a huge market for skilled workers – I represented a terrific guy, originally from Byram, who was making well over $100,000 a year as head mechanic for a NYC dealership, overseeing 85 mechanics, and he told me his biggest problem was finding workers. He’d attended GHS, learned at its auto shop and then went on to Wright Tech. GHS has closed its auto program and Wright Tech has been starved for funds [CLOSED, a reader informs me!] While I fume about wasteful state spending, targeted, smart spending makes plenty of sense, and building up our tech schools doesn’t strike me as wasteful at all.


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9 responses to “Speaking of education

  1. Like they really give a damn about what businesses want in Connecticut.

    Here’s my guess on how it will work out:

    We could lighten the tax and regulatory burdens on tech schools, give them land grants, or provide low-cost loans to tech school enrollees. (among other things)

    Instead we will provide subsidies, grants and ‘enrichment programs’ which will mandate teaching native american rug weaving, et al. at all tech schools. The monies disbursed will have to be funneled through a large bureaucracy, and will be unevenly applied to those schools who jump through the right hoops, hire personnel to apply for and manage these programs, and perform the most diligent rent-seeking behaviors. Ultimately the effort will have no effect except for burning through a vast pile of taxpayer dollars.

  2. Sound Beacher


    They closed Wright Tech. I’m surprised you were not aware of this.

  3. well-heeled

    Agreed. My business works with a domestic injection molding manufacturer. We tried to find one in CT (visited a few, but none were a good fit). The prevailing theme across all the small companies in the northeast with whom we met was the age of the proprietors/workers…all “old”. And we’re hardly ageists, but with the older work force came outdated technology and stale processes.

    In the south & midwest, where we ultimately found the right partner, there was a clear difference in age & culture of the workforce (it was balanced across age groups – with a strong staff of young, recently educated/trained workers working under the tutelage of more experienced mgmt).
    Would love to see CT become competitive in the scene.

  4. Anonymous

    In CT (and elsewhere) liberal educators encourage their students to pursue the “liberal arts.” When these students graduate and find jobs for liberal arts majors lacking in industry, they end up becoming liberal educators themselves, and the vicious cycle repeats.

  5. I was brought up liberal, too. Fortunately it didn’t stick.

  6. AmyT

    “Not every kid is college material”

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I laugh every time I read this sentiment because there should be a little asterisk next to it: *my child is, of course.

  7. Peeps

    Right – if high schoolers have a good plan and a job, they should be allowed to work their plan. Many high schools have out-of-control atmospheres caused by kids who no longer see the meaning or good of what they’re doing in school, so they spend their time treating teachers like the enemies, and just looking around for social interaction and fun. If they have a family business or a skill that they are good at and enjoy, why make them feel like a failure for labeling them as a failure or a dropout?

    I graduated hs with my auto mechanic and he was just horrible in school and ended up at an alternative school. He’s doing great and now we all want to be on his good side.

    It’s not only that some kids aren’t college material, but some colleges are just businesses. Those that have a valued skill shouldn’t be held back from using it as soon as they want to. The atmosphere in schools will also be better for it.

    Guidance counselors should be allowed to sit down with a kid and their family/caregiver and see if a life/employment plan is realistic and just a let kids who hate school but have a plan go.

    And it’s depressing to see all the recent grads getting churned out of college money-making factories who will never recoup the cost of their schooling.