Do you choose a University or a Trade School?

8A21DF0B-3D5A-4BDF-A8EF-9201CBDCB320University v.s. Trade School – that is a dilemma facing American youth right now. High School students used to choose between going to College or picking a trade (electrician, plumber, carpenter, aircraft technician, auto mechanic, dental hygienist, video editor, fashion designer, tailor, etc.). As you can see, there are interesting and lucrative jobs out there that do not need an expensive College education. However, somewhere along the line, we were ALL made to feel that unless we had a College education we would not find a job.

525A7F73-5A1F-42DF-AE63-F7D5A3CA3A35Walking down a street in Florence, I came across this leather school. I went to take a look and saw people working on different projects. You can sign up for a 1 month, 3 month or 6 month course. It is a bit on the expensive side, but the artisans / students working on their projects looked quite intense and dedicated. Out of respect for the students, I did not snap a photo of them “live” in the class, but this advertisement shows you how their work tables look.

Recently, there was an article “Trade Schools Could Be The Solution To Saving America’s Infrastructure,” in This article talked about how we have to find a way to bring vocational training back to High Schools. This is important, not only for our infrastructure, but it would allow students who do not want to go to College the option of exploring vocational training. I know when I was in High School, they offered shop, home economics and typing classes. We enjoyed those classes, because they were “hands on.” In fact, my current typing skills are thanks to mandatory typing classes in High School! We had to memorize the keyboard, type a short story without looking at the keyboard, 50 words per minute with less than 5 mistakes. I practiced a lot to get a good grade!

Let’s bring back vocational training. As for my typing, if you see a typo, it means I need to re-take Typing 101, I’m obviously a little “rusty!”

12 thoughts on “Do you choose a University or a Trade School?

  1. I’m a big believer in trade or vocational schools, and I think that college is a fine choice for some, not everyone should go to college. I would like people to stop looking down at those who choose a trade….they require way more intelligence than being a desk jockey.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. In Hong Kong, having skills in fields like construction, electricity and mechanics can be great for earning huge since we always lack workers with those skills. The young ones prefer to work at boring offices after all.

    When in college, I somehow got hired at a high end Shanghai food restaurant as a part time study boy (as they call it) with zero knowledge in cooking. The head chef said that it doesn’t matter even if I don’t know how to boil water as they’d teach me. I ended up working there for 6 years. While I’m no professional chef, I became quite good at cooking due to their teachings. I even had the opportunity to teach some new recruits.

    As for typing, I was an average typer (60 wpm), though I increased it to 100 wpm through typing games and practice.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great story! If someone believes in us and is willing to mentor us, we can learn anything. And Edmark, it seems like we need a WordPress Meetup one day in Hong Kong, you can cook for a group of us – like Benihana restaurant , toss a few shrimp tails in the air and teach us a few fast Chinese cooking tips. I’m following the “The Austrian Dish,” we can add her in for a cooking demonstration. ACTUALLY, I saw in Seattle and Chicago, they have WordPress Meetups. Have you seen this in Hong Kong?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. 🙂 I may be quite rusty now since I now mostly cook for myself.

        I don’t think that I have ever seen something like that in Hong Kong. Blogging isn’t that popular in HK. Most people’s idea of a blog here are those posts filled with pictures of the bloggers’ dinners, whiny teenagers who rant about everything, or writings with bad grammar. So, blogging isn’t taken seriously here. When I told to my peers that I’m blogging, their reactions were, “What? Why waste your time when you can write things that earn you a lot?”, “Seriously?”, or just a deadpan expression. They can’t believe that I use my time to write on a blog instead of focusing on my math writings and research.

        But perhaps, there are actually WordPress meetups here but I am just not aware of it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. When you go to WP ADMIN, look to the right and scroll to the bottom and you’ll see “Wordpress News and Events.” THAT is where I saw different WordPress events going on.

        Oh, and FYI, glad you decided to do your Blog. You are still focused on math and other research, but more in an amusing way for your readers! We appreciate your postings… so keep going!


  3. I think a lot of it has to do what our parents think. My mom and dad were so focused on getting me into college that they looked down upon trade schools (even though they had both gone to one themselves). Personally, I don’t want to be strapped to a desk forever. Learning a trade would be amazing, but now that I have a desk job it gets harder and harder to switch out of it to something else.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you… our parents wanted better for us, so we grew up knowing we would go to College. However, back then if we got a job their was loyalty from the company and from the employee. Now, there are constant lay offs, so there is no loyalty or trust between employer and employee. So, I feel we are put in a position of having to be entrepreneurial, which means we could focus on a trade and be very successful. You are right in saying that once you have a desk job it is hard to switch over, but many people in their 50s are having to re-invent themselves, because of being laid off. Changing fields is tough, but not impossible. If you want to change, then slowly start making connections in a field you would want to pursue… ALL it takes is “one person” to give you that NEW opportunity – it happens, but not if we don’t try. :). Thanks for writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think it’s a great idea, and if I had to do it over again I would chose something hands-on. All university, a general BA or BSc gets you today is $60-100,000 worth of debt and no job, unless you chose something specific like law or medicine or dentistry in which case you have double the debt but at least some way of eventually paying it off. A friend’s daughter took a six month museum curator course after college, which got her an interesting museum job, and I also know someone who took a bookbinding course and now has a great government job with benefits, restoring old books – there were only fifteen kids in the class. Sometimes these small courses no one knows about are great as their is little job competition. Of course it pays to research wisely, as with the future rapidly progressing who knows how many jobs will survive!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for sharing, those were BOTH great types of jobs. Goes to show that there are interesting jobs out there beyond the normal ones we would think of electrician, construction, gardening, etc. We just have to find our passion and research as you said!


  5. Yes! My kids’ school is having this same debate as right now vocational is so in demand they are coming out of either high school or 2 year schools making 60k a year! Thanks for the highlights of the debate!!

    Liked by 1 person

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