Everyone knows that the country’s school systems are suffering. Here in California, teachers have received pink slips.

Everyone knows that the country’s school systems are suffering. Here in California, teachers have received pink slips. Students and faculty have also held rallies and walkouts to protest budget cuts that would affect classroom sizes and educational offerings.

Whenever cuts need to be made, schools usually follow a familiar pattern. First, arts and music education get cut. Then some of the sports teams will be cut, usually starting with women’s teams. Then the vocational programs are either downsized or eliminated. It is no different this time around.

Newspapers from all over the country have reported on school budget cuts. And many of these publications have reported on the fears of school administrators that trades programs will get the axe.

The issue of vocational education is one that is very important to me. I get rather upset when I see schools sending young people down the same path. Not every kid is cut out for a typical university education. And not all kids want a white-collar desk job. We seem to turn our noses up at careers that require us to use our hands. But we could be in for a rude awakening if we continue down this path.

In a report issued in 2007, the American Welding Society found that by 2010 there would be a shortage of 200,000 skilled welders. AWS also found that the average welder age is in the mid-50s. As more welders retire, the gap continues to grow. If your school district is planning for cuts, do some investigating. Find out if the cuts will cause further damage to the construction industry. If so, it might be time to educate the educators.