While four-year college degrees are not designed for every student this does not lessen the significance of academic skills. Even though technical education provides a career path for students that may not be scholars or seeking a four year college degree, this does not exempt the academic skills required of them to properly and safely perform a technical career.
In order to get a job the applicant must know how to properly type a resume, fill out an application, properly communicate with interviewer, and the ability to read and comprehend the description and requirements of the job. Once employed, he or she will need to use basic academic skills in almost any job situation. At a body shop in a dealership, for example, the manager is going to hand the employee a work order and expect the employee to take the information and repair the vehicle. The supervisor is not going to instruct the employee step by step what to do like a teacher may do for a student. The employee will be expected to read and comprehend the work order and repair manuals; use critical skills to analyze the damage and determine a repair method and process; use math skills to calculate, to measure, align unibody structural components, and to understand estimating procedures and times. The employee will need good communication skills to communicate with co-workers, supervisors, and customers. Miscommunication is one of the biggest problems in the work place today. It is also important for the employees to have the right attitude and values. The best skilled employee can find them self unemployed if they do not know how to control their temper or if they are caught stealing. Which employee would you rather hire and work with? One that lacks some technical expertise, but understands the basics, has a good attitude, good values, team player, and is willing to learn the skills needed to become successful; or a seasoned employee with the skills of "Chip Foose" (if anyone watches Overhaulin), but is hard to work with, always complaining he's being cheated, can't get along with other co-workers causing a high employee turn over rate, hateful to customers, and makes you feel uncomfortable because you feel like he is always looking for ways to cheat or steal from the company? Would the high skill level be worth the headaches and risk?
According to Secretary's Commission on Achieving Necessary Skills (SCANS) report, to survive in today's work place an employee must have the foundation and work place skills. These skills include:
•Basic Skills - writing, arithmetic, mathematics, speaking, and listening.
•Thinking Skills - ability to learn, reasoning, thinking creatively, make decisions and solve problems.
•Personal Qualities - individual responsibilities, self-esteem and self-management, sociability, and integrity.
•Resources - know how to allocate time, money, materials, space, and staff.
•Interpersonal Skills - works on teams, teach others to serve customers, lead negotiate, and work well with people from culture different backgrounds.
•Information - acquires and evaluates data, organize and maintain files, interpret and communicate, and use computers to process information.
•Systems - understand social, organizational, and technological systems, monitor and correct performance, and design and improve systems.
•Technology - select equipment and tools, apply technology to specific tasks, maintain and troubleshoot equipment.
Teaching students only technical skills is setting them up for failure in today's society. We need to teach students the basic academics needed, technical skills required, attitudes, values and work ethic expected by employers to ensure we provide successful employable employees in the future.
Technical education does not require all honor students. The ideal students need to have basic academics skills, safety conscious, interest in the program to motivate them to learn, willingness to complete assigned tasks, and a good attitude.
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