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The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration

The student news site of Colonia High School

The Declaration


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Why A Trade Might Be Right For You

College Isn’t The Only Option
Photo Credit: photo via wikipedia under creative commons license
College isn’t for everyone. Trade fields may be the right path for you.

Society will pressure you to go to a four year school. Sometimes your guidance counselors will tell you need to apply to college, even if a trade might be the better choice for you. All you want to do is make something of yourself. You want to be successful. Your parents want the same thing: Your parents want to see you do better than they did in life. Many have come to believe that college is the only way for that to be possible. But, is it?

This phenomenon began in the 1950s, the age of the Baby Boomers. World War II had just ended and the economy was doing swell. Couples began marrying and having children at phenomenal rates. Colleges became more affordable as the middle class carved itself into the system. Parents pushed their children to go to college to become successful because that was what the wealthy had always done.  Therefore, the middle class thought it to be the way for their children to do better than they.

Fast forward to today and the bulk of American Society is incredibly college happy. In fact, your entire life, you’re told college is the only option. That just is not the case. As our society has continued down this path, the trade industry has suffered. Less people are going into the blue collar workforce, leading to a large demographic of aged tradesman that are continuing to diminish in numbers. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, blue collar industries like automotive technicians are in desperate need of bodies. As a result, it is projected that in 2024, 739,900 automotive techs, 295,500 diesel techs, 474,100 plumbers (pipefitters and steamfitters), 714,700 electricians, and 1,005,800 carpenters will be needed in the workforce.

High school is supposed to be about trying as many things as you can to figure out what you want to do with your life afterward. Now, very few high schools follow that ideal, and instead convince students to give college a try. With less elective options in the area of trades, students have a terrible time deciding what path to choose for their future if college is not in the cards. Whether or not you go to work in a trade, those skills are important in your life. Without these classes, how is the student supposed to experiment with different skills to see what interests them? The closure of these classes hurts all students. A student that wants to go to college loses the opportunity to learn skills that all adults should have. The student that wants to go into a trade loses the opportunity to learn skills pertinent to their future. And a student, clueless to their future plans, loses to opportunity to try something else: We all suffer.

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Schools that value the importance of trades and their associated classes, like Hoffman Estates High School in Illinois, give students the opportunity to learn hands on skills and use them practically. The Building Trades class at Hoffman Estates not only builds future craftsman, but homes within the northwest suburbs of Chicago. In addition, the program was so successful that the rest of the schools in that district followed in their footsteps and opened up similar classes. Students learn a trade, improve their community, and bring money to the school by utilizing practical skills.

Colonia High use to have an Automotive Shop class, Wood Shop classes and Sewing classes. The Automotive room and class was replaced with a weight room. They close Wood Shop and replace it with a dance room. The trend seems to be pushing student in the college direction with classes like these becoming obsolete in a high school. So, what is a kid to do if the classes are no longer being offered at their school and they want to go into a trade or learn a practical skill? And with this push for everyone to go to college, we forget that will lead to less plumbers, electricians, contractors, carpenters, and seamstresses. How will society handle life when these jobs become far and few between?

Seems like the education industry isn’t likely to change anytime soon, but you can. Don’t let the system that has been created choose a path for you. Go to college, go to a trade school, become an apprentice, or take a year off to discover yourself. Your life is your decision and you have to set your own goals. Take the time to figure out what interests you, find what is available in our world, and make a career out of it.

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About the Contributor
Thomas J. Lo Coco Jr.
Thomas J. Lo Coco Jr., Spring Reporter
Thomas Lo Coco, a man with strong conservative values that holds his views close to his heart. He hates online newspapers and ironically is involved with one now. He is a firm believer in constitutional rights and dislikes those who stand against them. He is an aspiring author with a passionate hatred for the communication styles of young people, especially with electronic media. Lo Coco is practically a forty year old man in an eighteen year old’s body. He wouldn’t have it any other way.

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The student news site of Colonia High School
Why A Trade Might Be Right For You