I have always felt that it is silly to force kids to do things that they do not want to do.

Attending school is a case in point. Why force those kids who do not want to be in school to stay there? I think it safe to say that they would likely be disruptive, combative and generally a pain in the butt to everyone else.

Now, I understand that our kids need an education, but why don’t we conceive another way to educate them? I know that we have continuation schools, but why not take the concept a step further? I would design an alternate school that really developed students to enter the workplace. Jobs that are centered on the blue collar sector like plumbers, welders and electrical utility workers pay great wages and are always in demand. There is currently a large demand for electrical utility workers. The median age in that workforce is now more than 50. This is a job that can earn $100,000 to $200,000 per year and does not require a college-level education.

Yet, there are jobs going unfilled because there aren’t enough qualified applicants to fill them. Why not partner with the various organizations and help them fill these openings? If this could be accomplished it would be a win-win for all those involved. The industries being served would receive qualified applicants; the students would be learning a trade and see a reward for their hard work. We should also evaluate the marketplace on a yearly basis to make sure that jobs would be available for graduates when they complete the required course of education. We could also receive money from the trade unions to help offset the cost of this program if we could prove the concept and they may even provide the instructors.

The kids would EARN the chance to be employed! What a concept.

Joe O’Keefe lives in Rancho Peñasquitos

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