Shop classes have all but disappeared from many American schools, and at first glance that might seem like a logical step. Why would today’s wired kids need to know how to work with their hands? The answer is that they still need the inspiration and understanding that results from turning something digital into something real.
As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, manufacturing jobs paying upwards of $80,000 a year are going unfilled in an era when unemployment hovers around nine percent. Three factors are contributing to the shortfall in workers. Baby boomers with sophisticated machine skills are retiring in large numbers at the same time that parents and guidance counselors discourage kids from pursuing careers in manufacturing. Additionally, the U.S. education system isn’t producing enough graduates with the math and science proficiency necessary to operate and repair computer-controlled factory equipment.