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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

Provide free or affordable counseling

File under: mental health care, health

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From: Patrice M., Homewood, IL

As a clinical social worker, I often see people who may be overwhelmed with managing emotional, psychological, family or work stresses that result in their inability to "get ahead." These are folks who are dealing with multiple stressors and have few supports. And, many people who are willing to go to counseling to get the support they need to deal with these stressors, cannot afford to go to counseling. There really is no such thing as free counseling, as far as I see, and the waiting list to receive assistance through a community mental health center is months long.

When I'm trying to find support for someone who needs immediate assistance (and cannot pay the full price of counseling out of pocket), I'm often advised to tell that person to go to the emergency room where they can get immediate psychiatric care. But this is not for ongoing care and support. Many folks with health insurance still do not want to pay a $40 copay a week, and those with public aid are lucky to find a counselor who would accept public aid, as counselors themselves cannot afford to wait months to get reimbursed by state.

Having counseling available to children and teens at school, would also be nice, as personal and family stressors often add an unnecessary distraction that results in poor performance and grades in school. What about a counseling center at each school -- available to kids and their families? Or a community mental health center in every town? Maybe having better access to services, would reduce stigma as well.


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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.