Craft skills: Who are you going to call when it hits the fan?
While it seems that every day as of late reminds us of impending doom and gloom, Neil Strauss gives us a new book entitled “Emergency” that details actions to take when disaster strikes. It was the “bonus” tip that struck home. “Make friends with your neighbors, especially the ones with skills like plumbing, carpentry, farming, engine repair and the like. You don’t need to befriend the lawyers and accountants. They’re not going to help you.”
Wow, I just hope it’s not 25 years from now when someone decides to take Neil’s bonus tip advice. In many cases, we have already lost the farming knowledge, not to mention that many city building lots not already covered with concrete are too small to grow much of anything anyway. Nearly 79 million Baby Boomers will potentially leave the workforce by 2025 and be replaced by a mere 40 million. Sadly, only about 20 percent of those people will possess the skills required for success. It’s probably safe to say the odds of having a neighbor with any level of craft skills will be rather low 25 years from now.
Technical or trade school enrollment has been on a steady decline since the 1970s. Apprenticeship was once a staple of many union organizations. A number of unions have abandoned those programs or so restricted them that industrial craft skills are no longer taught. One of the Navy aircraft repair shops in my area is begging for people with real sheet metal skills and is partnering with a community technical college to create an apprenticeship program. Even more scary, forget about technical school enrollment; we can’t even get students to graduate from high school. A recent study shows that Detroit only graduates 21.7 percent of its students, while Baltimore graduates 38.5 percent and New York City 38.9 percent. More than 7,000 students drop out nationwide every day based on 2002 and 2003 data. Furthermore, it may surprise you to learn that many school systems no longer offer industrial shop classes like wood or metal shop due to liability concerns.
So, what are your grandchildren going to do when disaster strikes?
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