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A student learns welding at a vocational high school in Massachusetts. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Ready to Work

Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Today the new mantra is "college for all." But not everyone wants to go to college, and more than half of jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. Many experts say it's time to bring back career and technical education. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education is being reimagined.

Recent Posts

  • 09.11.14

    A 21st-century vocational high school

    For years, vocational education was seen as a lesser form of schooling, tracking some kids into programs that ended up limiting their future opportunities. Today, in the nation's best vocational programs, things are different.
  • 09.10.14

    Career academies: A new twist on vocational ed

    Across the country, thousands of high schools are transforming into career academies. The idea is that students will be more engaged if they see how academics are connected to the world of work. And they’ll be more likely to get the postsecondary schooling they need to support themselves in today’s economy.
  • 09.09.14

    The troubled history of vocational education

    Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But advocates for today's career and technical education say things have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.
  • 09.04.14

    Four-year institutions brace for population shifts

    Colleges and universities are accepting many more students of color, many more students from working class and poor families, and many more people who are sometimes referred to as "nontraditional" students.


in collaboration with Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity

Improve technology (broadband access) in rural areas and invest in local, small business development

File under: education, technology

5 (1 votes)

From: Terry B., Rison, AR

The old adage that it is better to be an average Joe in the middle of Arkansas than to be a genius in China is no longer true. Today's global economy leaves many behind. In rural areas in the United States, low wages, long commutes for work, and little or no broadband access keep communities poor and underdeveloped, and provide no incentive to young people to stay in their home communities after graduating from high school or college. A combination of buy and eat local and global commerce will allow these communities to thrive, grow, and once again keep their best and brightest at home to raise families and prosper.

Rural counties and communities should be provided with money, hardware and technical assistance to allow their communities to become county-wide WiFi hotspots. Computer use and programming and software development grants would help once the access is established. The powers-that-be want to promote the obsolete model of providing tax incentives to global corporations that come into an area and deplete the workforce and community of talent and ambition, only to pull up stakes and leave many unemployed people and yet another abandoned plant behind in their wakes. Small business and individual incentives should rival any provided to industry.

Industry has shown repeatedly that they are interested only in their bottom line, and when the grass seems greener on another continent, they will flee. Education and skills cannot be taken from a community, but the community can become so unattractive to talented, driven people that they also flee -- albeit to cities and more prosperous states, not overseas. We need to be able to market small and rural towns as being a part of the international commerce super highway. This can be dome through technological equity and small business support and development, to include training in how to operate a sustainable business and access capital.


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American RadioWorks |
A student learns welding at a vocational high school in Massachusetts. (Photo: Emily Hanford)

Ready to Work

Vocational education was once a staple of American schooling, preparing some kids for blue-collar futures while others were put on a path to college. Today the new mantra is "college for all." But not everyone wants to go to college, and more than half of jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. Many experts say it's time to bring back career and technical education. This American RadioWorks documentary explores how vocational education is being reimagined.

Recent Posts

  • 09.11.14

    A 21st-century vocational high school

    For years, vocational education was seen as a lesser form of schooling, tracking some kids into programs that ended up limiting their future opportunities. Today, in the nation's best vocational programs, things are different.
  • 09.10.14

    Career academies: A new twist on vocational ed

    Across the country, thousands of high schools are transforming into career academies. The idea is that students will be more engaged if they see how academics are connected to the world of work. And they’ll be more likely to get the postsecondary schooling they need to support themselves in today’s economy.
  • 09.09.14

    The troubled history of vocational education

    Vocational education was once used to track low-income students off to work while wealthier kids went to college. But advocates for today's career and technical education say things have changed, and graduates of vocational programs may have the advantage over graduates of traditional high schools.
  • 09.04.14

    Four-year institutions brace for population shifts

    Colleges and universities are accepting many more students of color, many more students from working class and poor families, and many more people who are sometimes referred to as "nontraditional" students.