Which came first, the chicken or the egg?
A form of that question often arises in Northeast Michigan these days when it comes to vocational training. If a vocational job becomes available locally, is there a person trained to step in and fill it?
Unfortunately, depending on the job, sometimes the answer is yes, but sometimes the answer is no.
In the economic reality we live in today some of the talent pool has moved elsewhere for work, some has re-trained for other work while some never have had the opportunity to train in school for the position.
For local factories and schools, this has been a real paradigm shift from a decade ago when even in slow economic times, high schools in the region still offered multi-levels of vocational training. Today, vocational training still occurs, but not at the same level, and not with the same course offerings, as in the past. For some courses, Alpena Community College has stepped in and filled the gap. In other instances, the training just doesn't exist unless it occurs on the job.
State Rep. Peter Pettalia, R-Presque Isle, is one of several legislators looking at the vocational training opportunities in the state, and seeing if there isn't something that can be done to provide more opportunities for school districts to increase offerings.
Vocational training always has, and always will be an important component of our educational system. It deserves all our support.