By Thomas Reed

Making my way through my September 2013 issue of Popular Mechanics, I read a column written by the Dirty Jobs guy, Mike Rowe. Mike’s contention is that the culture today does not value a good, hands-on job. So focused are we on sending every student to college, that we play down the merit in doing an honest day’s work that doesn’t involve fluorescent lights and eight hours in front of a computer screen.

I’m not sure he’s wrong.

I have added the link below to one of Mike’s entries on YouTube discussing the skills gap in this country. According to him, there are over three million skilled labor jobs in the US that are wanting for qualified employees.

Mike’s premise is that so many of the adults that touch our children’s lives as they progress through the education system promote the concept of going on to college and ignore or discount any other sort of post-high school educational option.

I have family and friends that are employed at different levels of public education and they also agree. While neither MIke or my friends and family disagree that a college education improves your odds to get a good job and make an excellent living, but they also believe that other opportunities besides a traditional Bachelor’s degree should also be available and encouraged.

Those involved in public education will tell you that they recognize which students are destined to thrive in a post-secondary education environment and which will flounder. Those that may not flourish in college are not dumb, they are individuals who are not well suited to sitting in the classroom, but they are willing and able to achieve success by other means.

What we at Gadd Business Consultants would like to know is:

  1. Has the lack of skilled talent affected your business? Has it affected expansion plans or your ability to take on a specific client?

  2. Has it affected you personally? Were you one of those students who was pushed into an education that did not suit you? Do you use that education in your vocation today?

  3. Do you think a college education should be the goal of every high school student? Is the rate at which a school turns out students that go on to college figure into the “success” score that determines funding?

That the education system has to and will change in the coming years is fact. We would really like to engage our audience in the discussion of this topic.

It is important, and it is important to businesses in Michigan and beyond.