Vocational Training and the Future of Maintenance

  December 21, 2016

By Dan Hounsell

The struggle is real for maintenance and engineering managers looking for entry-level technicians to staff their departments. As the current workforce ages, managers face stiff competition from a host of other employers for a relatively small pool of candidates with both the interest in maintenance and the skills to succeed in the profession. Managers often look to two-year community colleges, the military and even their peers’ departments in their search for front-line maintenance and engineering technicians.

One writer believes it is time to bring back one potential opportunity for future maintenance workers that has fallen out of favor — vocational training in high schools.

“Despite the growing evidence that four-year college programs serve fewer and fewer of our students, states continue to cut vocational programs,” writes Nicholas Hyman in Forbes. “In 2013, for example, the Los Angeles Unified School District, with more than 600,000 students, made plans to cut almost all of its (career and technical education) programs by the end of the year.

“The justification, of course, is budgetary; these programs (which include auto body technology, aviation maintenance, audio production, real estate and photography) are expensive to operate. But in a situation where 70 percent of high school students do not go to college, nearly half of those who do go fail to graduate, and over half of the graduates are unemployed or underemployed, is vocational education really expendable? Or is it the smartest investment we could make in our children, our businesses, and our country’s economic future?”

Read more here.

This Quick Read was submitted by Dan Hounsell, editor-in-chief of Facility Maintenance Decisions, dan.hounsell@tradepressmedia.com. To read more about training strategies for front-line technicians, visit https://www.facilitiesnet.com/14125FMD.


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