One consequence of schools’ obsessive focus on 21st century skills
by Mr. Sheehy
We as schools are so obsessed with the knowledge economy and the Common Core that we can’t recognize or acknowledge what our students want to be and the real needs of our culture. I find this particularly revealing:
Across the country, skilled manual labor is in high demand. But it’s also in short supply. According to the Associated General Contractors of America, two-thirds of construction companies are struggling to find enough skilled workers, and 79 percent expect the shortage to continue. Meanwhile, craftsmen are retiring in droves. According to Manpower Group, 53 percent of skilled trade workers are 45 or older; 18 percent are between ages 55 and 64. There aren’t enough new workers to replace the waves of skilled laborers retiring from the workforce.
Given the types of jobs that are expected to grow in the coming years, the looming skills shortage is particularly acute. A 2010 report published by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicted the fastest-growing occupations through 2020. Of the top ten, four were skilled trades: (4) brickmasons, blockmasons, stonemasons, and tile and marble setters; (5) carpenters; (7) reinforcing iron and rebar workers; and (9) pipelayers, plumbers, pipefitters, and steamfitters.