Trades as opposed to four year degrees
This isn’t an article that has religious connections, or does it? When looking at all the secular directions anyone could choose as a career the latest choice has been a four year degree in order to get ahead. The results of having one or more multiple letters behind your name should put one in a great bargaining position when seeking employment. However, that does not always guarantee what anyone might be hoping for. The world market of higher technological positions certainly will draw many who aspire to become tops in their chosen field.
There was a period of time, the late 40’s through the 70’s, where mostly men sought jobs where they could use their skills in the trades or manufacturing positions. It became an opportunity for younger men to follow their fathers into the same type of work and for a time appeared to be ok. But as technology and marketing in the stock market became the way to go, the adherence of a college degree seemed to be the direction for many to follow. “For as in one body we have many parts, and all the parts do not have the same function (Rom 12: 4).
Even the Church wanted men who had a college degree for the priesthood. Consequently even men and women seeking work in the church as instructors, social workers, and even permanent deacons would obtain positions if they had a four year degree.
My point here is not to belittle the mental energy required in any position, but in the fields of production, be it in education, scholastics, or technical positions, a degree is essential. Now, after many years of world successes in creating what we all enjoy as working, living, and shopping, we have found a diminishment of those who built what we have, are no longer available. What has occurred is a false sense of a college degree is the only way to go. “Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands.” (Eph 2: 11).
After over 60 years in the electrical field as an electrician, teacher in more than one trade school, and an electrical inspector with a Pennsylvania certification to examine new and old construction projects with electrical wiring. The one question that was always confronting me by electrical contractors. “Ralph, do you know anyone who will work as electricians, or go through trade schools? We are feeling the absence of men or women who want to work with their hands.”
One of the trade schools I taught at had six classes with students being taught one of 30 different courses on a daily basis. As I left teaching to become full-time at an inspection agency, the enrollment went from six to three full-time classes. This was a sign of the disinterest of trades and this was common all over the system. All trade schools were feeling this lack of working with their hands to something none of us could comprehend.
At one time that type of questioning would have seemed too erroneous. If crystal balls would have been around the question would have answered the solution to what we face today. Try calling a plumber or other repair technicians for an emergency problem in your home. And now with the shortage of skilled men and women in the trades, construction of new apartment buildings and commercial establishments are held back. The construction industry can hire workers, but without experience and knowledge in their specific trade the guarantee of safety in the finished product will be a bit iffy. “According to the grace of God given to me, like a master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But each other must be careful how he builds upon it, for no one can lay a foundation other than the one that is there, namely Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor 3: 10).
As an inspector I saw too many attempts from unskilled workers to make a completed job pass inspection. With electricity people’s lives can be in jeopardy when technicians do not have the proper training and experience at their disposal to do a safe project. Fires and or electrocutions are not a once in a while occurrence. Faulty wiring methods and incorrect materials are the number one cause of these mishaps. Never through accidents, but again a hurry-up job and little or no inspections. We go back to the question of a four year degree as opposed to a well trained technician in each one of the trades that house us, heat us, water us and read by at night. The safety of our world depends on trades people as opposed to a four year degree. Promotion of keeping the trades operating with skilled persons is also a spiritual need since the safety of others is a guide to following the dictates of Jesus. Promoting the human needs of our brothers and sisters is paramount to good fellowship between people. That fulfills a Christian need.