Updated: Jan 20
Vocational education has a long history in the United States, dating back to the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Initially, vocational education was seen as a way to provide training to students who were not planning to go to college. It was designed to prepare students for specific trades and careers, such as carpentry, automotive repair, and welding. The Smith-Hughes National Vocational Education Act of 1917 provided federal funding for vocational education programs in public schools.
In the post-World War II period, the emphasis on education shifted toward college preparation, and vocational education programs in schools began to be seen as less important. Many schools started to reduce or eliminate vocational education classes in favor of a more "academic" curriculum. This trend continued in the following decades, with vocational education programs being phased out or consolidated in many schools.
This removal of vocational education from public schools has had a negative impact on industries that rely on skilled tradespeople. Many companies in industries such as collision and automotive repair have reported difficulty in finding qualified workers to fill open positions. With fewer people receiving vocational training in high school, there are fewer skilled workers available to enter these fields.
Additionally, this removal also decreased the perception of vocational education and the lack of knowledge of its value among students, educators, and parents. This contributed to the lack of interest in vocational education among students and the negative stigma that vocational education is only for those students who aren’t capable of going to university.
However, there has been a recent trend in some states and school districts to reinstate vocational education programs in schools, recognizing the important role they can play in preparing students for the workforce and addressing workforce shortages in certain industries.
At the Auto Talent and Savings Association we are focused o ways we can help improve the perception of the industry and promote the good-paying opportunities that the industry has to offer. if you are interested in supporting these efforts we encourage you to become a member today!