Why Technical Education and Experience Matters

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Why Technical Education and Experience Matters

Fri Sep 27, 2013

You may have heard that as the country's manufacturing sector comes back, we are now experiencing what is being called a skilled labor shortage.  Jobs are out there, yet there aren't enough qualified people to fill them.   

From a packaging perspective, we see that our future leaders are not being educated and trained for technical and engineering jobs the way they are in other countries. Even American students who earn undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering aren't getting enough relevant hands-on experience, as compared to their peers in Europe. In Germany, for instance, students get undergraduate degrees, then go out for real-world experience, returning to grad school and then entering the workforce with solid training that gives them a competitive edge. They know what it takes to design, engineer and manufacture goods, taking it from a concept to a finished product, as opposed to just understanding the concept theoretically.

Comparatively, we are at a great disadvantage. If we provided a better rounded educational experience-beginning with technological education early on and ending with valuable hands-on training-our students would be entering the workforce with knowledge, training, and degrees that would give them the tools to advance both themselves and our country.

What always made the U.S. so great is that we made things; we built and created a country and an industry with our hands and our minds. We need to return to this, leaving the outsourcer, user-economy model, and once again returning to our manufacturing roots. If parents and educators get kids involved in this-and excited about it-early on, we can create a better future for them and our economy.

The age old question still has yet to be answered: "Are we doing our best to prepare our children and future leaders of the free world to compete and win on a global scale"? Does their education end after the years of secondary school, or only begin once they have left the classroom?