Putting the Skilled Trades Back in Texas High Schools

We've been telling you about the push in Austin to bring balance to the Texas education system. Many feel there's too much emphasis on sending every single student to college and not enough recognition that the skilled trades are a great option for many. The Texas Tribune reports on Houston Sen. Dan Patrick's bill to move the state away from the "college for all" model of education.

Patrick would like to see the skilled trades presented to high school students. He thinks there needs to be modern training in areas like plumbing, electrical work and auto repair.

From the Tribune:

"I want to raise the level of what I call blue-collar work with ... the ability to go to college. My dad was a blue-collar guy. I’m really a blue-collar guy that wears a white shirt and a tie to work," Patrick said. "But I just believe that students need the flexibility to go to a four-year college, a two-year college, get a certificate."

Patrick said that flexibility would come, in part, from offering tech-based classes that could replace core classes in math and science while meeting the rigorous standards of the state’s accountability system.

The Tribune also quotes Mario Lozoya, with Toyota Texas, who says that what passes for career and technical training now is a sad state of affairs:

"It pains me when I go into a bay in Career Technology Automotive and there’s a '73 Chevy, with the instructor teaching the kids how to do Bondo on a fender," Lozoya said. "That’s not relevant to current industry needs."

What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below.

Originally posted on Construction Citizen.



Senator Dan Patrick, I grew up in Canada when there was a selection process at the eigth grade, as to who went to a high school that was considered to be a Technical School, or to a 4-5 year program in preparation for university. The trades were automotive, electrical, machine shop, woodworking and drafting on the hard side trades, and office/administration education primarily for girls. As it turned out, after the first year in Tech I was moved to the university track...apparently the eigth grade evaluation was not conclusive. I went on to school in Colorado, played hockey and earned a BA. I followed up with another 3 years to complete mechanical engineering and a partial MBA curriculum. I went to on to build airplanes at Boeing, then to engineered heavy steel fabrication and construction, and finally spent the last 15-20 years in quality management systems supporting companies in the steel mill, petrochemical, construction, automotive and general manufacturing/ service industries. I have seen union and non-union operations in all the above experiences; they all have had my respect for the crafts that I have managed or witnessed. Most all organizations that I have had the honor of working with have spent large sums on training new employees or retraining the exsiting work forces as cost and tighter quality requirements have become necessary to be competitvie, (we used to talk about the car that was a lemon...that was produced on either Friday or Monday!) Those Americans who may chose the military or the world of crafts need grounding equivalent to what I experienced in order to be confident in understanding what they would really like to do in life. Trade/industrial/process/craft training at a technical level that provides for an uncerstanding of engineering, chemistry, metallurgy, eletrical/controls would be fields of understanding needed, plus "on the tools" experience. I don't think this will be inexpensive but should be pursued by Texas. In my community, the ratio of Technical schools to universiy bound was perhaps about equal, four year and 5 year programs. A thorugh review of Texas industry needs may have been completed, if it has not it should be completed.

Thanks for listening,

A delegate from Montgomery County




Best regards,



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