09/25/12 — New skills: There is more than one way to plan a successful career

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New skills: There is more than one way to plan a successful career

One of the biggest complaints from the public, and some officials, when people talk about the need for vocational education options for county students is the quality of the education they think they receive.

For many people, used to their own measurement of what constitutes a successful school experience, the idea of anything less than a college prep curriculum is second rate.

Not so anymore.

As evidenced by a local Wayne Community College student's achievement -- earning a spot in a NASA science program, there are opportunities out there, not only for learning a skill, but finding a successful and lucrative career as well.

Truth is, college education, and really high school, are what you make of it.

A rigorous vocational program teaches many of the high tech skills that will be valuable in the future as well as some of the practical applications that are lacking in some newly minted college graduates.

In other words, these students learn how to get and how to keep a job.

The vocational environment is also good for those who do not thrive in traditional classroom situations. Rather than having them struggle as they try to master a traditional curriculum presentation, they can succeed as they learn practical applications for the three key skills -- reading, writing and arithmetic.

There are plenty of good careers that start with vocational or hands-on technical training -- and they can provide lucrative and successful futures for many students. If you have any doubt, just think about the last time you hired a plumber, electrician or car mechanic.

And as evidenced by this local student's latest achievement, there are non-traditional ways to reach a goal and many different ways to inspire a young person to dream big.

Perhaps someday Isabelle Flock will be one of the people we will be watching in the NASA control room as she prepares for the launch of the latest space probe. You never know.

But for now, she and others like her, can inspire others to think about other ways to chase down the possibilities for their lives -- outside a college lecture hall.

Published in Editorials on September 25, 2012 12:27 PM