CareerEdge, vocational training can lead to careers
Once upon a time, what I like to think, not so long ago, when you were in high school, you had classes like workshop, auto mechanics, and home economics as part of the offers that you could follow, as well as your academic requirements.
Frankly, while my mom was an amazing and intelligent woman, household skills weren’t her strong suit. The only reason I can sew a hem and do a few other basic things is probably because of the home economics class I took in high school. Often times these classes just seemed like fun or were an opportunity to be in a class with friends, but inevitably they taught you skills that you could really use in life and for some students generated genuine interest. which led them to continue on this path during vocational 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 need to be recognized and nurtured. Trades in the construction industry or training in manufacturing can lead to great careers. For many reasons, not the least of which is the high cost of a four-year degree that can lead to excessive student loan debt, just over 30% of high school graduates will not go to college. , according to the United States Bureau of Labor. Statistics and almost 40% of those who start a four-year degree will not complete it. We cannot accept numbers like this without a plan to change them, and skills training should be part of that plan.
Locally, Sarasota Technical College and Manatee Technical College offer excellent programs that lead to jobs and career opportunities after graduation. Career Edge, part of the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, offers accelerated programs at no cost to students, providing them with the training they need to get a foot in the door of a working day after graduation. . From there, they receive more training and participate in apprenticeship programs that can lead to strong careers.
The apprenticeship program offered by the local air conditioning association – MAACA – provides continuing education while apprentices work and earn a living. They work, go to school, and go through different levels of training to earn a certification called NATE, North American Technician Excellence, which is recognized around the world. These graduates can take their dreams and ambitions wherever they want.
At the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange we have many members who started their careers at the bottom of the ladder and now own the business. These business owners talk to young people in schools to share their experiences and provide information on how to get training and be employed in their industry. We also met with guidance and career counselors in Manatee and Sarasota counties to share this information so it can be part of what they share with students about opportunities for their future.
In addition, each year we host a Construction Career Rodeo and invite students from Manatee and Sarasota counties to participate. Students gain hands-on experience at different stations run by different companies and walk away with information on how to apply for a job or, in some cases, with internship and learning opportunities before the end of the day. We look forward to hosting the next Construction Careers Rodeo once it is deemed safe to host these activities in schools again.
If you know a young person (or an adult) who would like to know more about the opportunities offered by CareerEdge, they can call 941-556-4038. The GCBX site, www.gcbx.org, has a job site where job vacancies are listed and updated regularly. Let’s work together to make a gainful job an opportunity for everyone in our community.
Mary Dougherty is Executive Director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. Contact her at [email protected]