The Case for Working With Your Hands
Matthew Crawford has an important essay, inspired by his new book Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry Into the Value of Work in the June 1st issue of the New York Times Magazine. The essay, entitled The Case for Working With Your Hands, highlights the value of "useful work". I encourage you to read this essay as well as a column by Rod Dreher on Crawford's book. According to Dreher "Crawford makes a philosophical case for choosing the trades over college..."
As Chairman of the Texas Workforce Commission, I have been making the case that we shouldn't keep pushing the idea that all high school students should attend a four year college. Instead, it makes a lot more sense for many young people to learn a skilled trade and become self-sufficient.
Even in these difficult economic times, there is still a strong demand for skilled workers; hence the reason why we have illegal immigration - to fill the shortage. Even though Crawford makes no mention of immigration in his essay, this point is emphasised implicitly in his argument. We need more skilled tradesmen to fulfill the labor demands of the state. Some of these jobs may be tough and dirty, but as Rod Dreher points out in the Dallas Morning News, the personal rewards of tradesmen are many.