The Free Press, Mankato, MN

November 30, 2012

Your View: More focus on industrial arts is needed

Ken Schmitt, Mankato

— The article on destruction, which appeared in the Nov. 26 issue in The Valley, is commendable.

Isn’t it wonderful that science, technology, engineering and mathematics is filling a void on hands-on projects?

I would call to the attention of the readers an article that appeared in the Waseca County News Oct. 19. The article, written by Marianne Carlson, described a need — a young man who wanted more hands-on shop classes.

He lamented that his educational opportunities had been limited in the Waseca school system and all because 10 years ago the state Legislature began shifting funds, which caused school boards to cut or reduce industrial technology classes, formerly known as industrial arts.

According to the news article, Tim Wenzel, president of Winegar Inc., Precision Machining in Waseca, said that there was a shift in mentality and that every student needed to attend a four-year college.

Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, said that the job market is flooded with four-year college graduates who are unable to find work while high-paying, skills jobs go unfilled.

I sincerely hope that the Legislature will see the need to reinstate the shop programs or at least expand them in our schools.

I do have a bias though, because I am a retired industrial arts teacher and know and remember those kids who were not college material, but attended two-year, technology/vocational schools and now are successful men and women.