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Technical trades education is valuable

Education in the trades has become a growing trend in schools around the country. There is a desperate need for skilled tradespeople — carpenters, electricians, plumbers, welders, and masons — as the older generations of workers retire out of the building trades.

For a long time, schools had focused on preparing students for four-year colleges, but for a lot of students, college may not be the best option. There’s nothing wrong with pursuing a career in woodworking or electrical work. If they like what they are doing, students in the trades often find they can make a good living without the burden of four years of college loans.

The key is to let them find out if they like that kind of work, and that’s where a high school Career and Technical Education center comes in. It lets the students try a variety of trades, see what they like and what they don’t and gives them an opportunity to pursue a career that they like.

With that in mind, it is encouraging to see the Fairmont Area School District’s efforts to provide students with an up-to-date expanded vocational center. Fairmont High School currently has five academies: automotive, welding, agriculture, culinary, and construction trades.

Expanding the vocational programs has been a goal of the district for quite some time as Minnesota currently needs to replace 239,000 skilled labor workers throughout every industry. All these programs are not only great for FHS students but for area students as well. They also provide skilled workers for our area businesses.

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