Technical careers are the solution to America's shrinking middle class, but people have to get over the notion that those jobs are “what other people's kids do,” says Nick Pinchuk, CEO of Snap-on Inc.
Pinchuk was in Oklahoma City this week to speak to the Oklahoma Business Roundtable about workforce education needs.
Technical education is the path to prosperity and the American dream that eludes more people today, he said.
But technical careers have a huge public relations problem.
“We have come to view these as the consolation prizes of our society,” Pinchuk said. “We've lost respect for the dignity of work.”
Oklahoma has a lot of growth in “building, creating, fixing — the doing occupations,” said CareerTech Director Robert Sommers, the state's secretary of education and workforce development.
The state's 29 technology centers offer high school and adult students specialized career training in more than 90 instructional areas, Sommers said.
But business owners often say they can't find the skilled workers they need. Applicants may have a college degree, but not the technical skills required for the job.
Pinchuk said the prevailing thought is those careers are inferior to careers requiring a college degree.