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Michigan Gov. Snyder says trades training is right idea

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Views & Opinions

Michigan Gov. Snyder says trades training is right idea

Other Voices

Grand Haven Tribune

Grand Haven, Mich.

Feb. 18, 2015

A lot of kids simply aren’t cut out for college. So why should our high schools treat all kids the same?

They shouldn’t.

That’s why we’re excited about the recent news that Gov. Rick Snyder will ask Michigan lawmakers for a 75 percent increase in funding for skilled-trades training and career technical education in his budget proposal for the new fiscal year.

In years past, the kids who excelled in the classroom would embark on a college prep path in high school. Those who were better working with their hands instead focused their studies on other types of classes, such as woodshop or metal shop, or a tech center where they can learn valuable skills that will put them in demand upon graduation.

Unfortunately, budget cuts have forced many schools to make drastic cuts in shop classes. As a result, there’s a serious shortage of skilled tradesmen entering the workplace each year.

Forbes published an article last year claiming that the skilled trades - welders, electricians and mechanists - are becoming increasingly difficult to find as many in that field are nearing the end of their career.

In 2012, 53 percent of skilled-trade workers in the United States were age 56 or older, and nearly 20 percent were nearing retirement age, between 55 and 64.

While times are changing - drastically - in the fields of science and technology, there’s still a big demand for those hands-on workers who can fill the many skilled-trade jobs that become available each day. That’s why it’s so important that the governor has put an emphasis on increasing educational opportunities for skilled trades in our state’s schools.

Nebraska’s ag section

to benefit by trade expansion


Omaha World-Herald

Omaha, Neb.

Feb. 20, 2015

Nebraska’s vibrant agricultural sector stands out not only for remarkable productivity but for its many connections to the global marketplace.

Nebraska producers and businesses send processed food, beef and corn- and soybean-related products - to cite only a few - around the globe.

"I can’t overemphasize how important that is," Steve Nelson, president of the Nebraska Farm Bureau, told The World-Herald. "Without those exports, the effect on our economy would be very significant."

About one-third of Nebraska’s agricultural sales are made through overseas markets, Nelson said. During 2013, such sales generated more than $6 billion for the state’s economy.

The growth rate in Nebraska’s total exports since 2009 has outpaced the increase for the country as a whole. An estimated 43,000 Nebraska jobs are tied to the export market, the U.S. Trade Representative’s Office reports. More than 1,900 Nebraska companies sell products or services abroad, and 81 percent of those are small- to medium-sized businesses.