Who is to blame for our country's lack of interest in manufacturing?

May 20, 2011

We, as a society, try to nurture our children's interests and dreams. We provide them with opportunities, encouragement and support. We offer them education, training and accolades. But with manufacturing programs and classes closing left and right, how do we encourage those children who want to make, build and repair?

We, as a society, try to nurture our children's interests and dreams. We provide them with opportunities, encouragement and support. We offer them education, training and accolades. But with manufacturing programs and classes closing left and right, how do we encourage those children who want to make, build and repair? A new article, "Don't Blame The Schools For Closing Machining & Manufacturing Programs," hypothesizes that it's the culture, not the schools, that is to blame.

According to the author, AJ Sweatt, “we can’t blame the schools… For the most part, they’re following markets and they can’t be expected to fulfill their responsibilities to all by throwing resources and cash at programs that aren’t attracting any interest. It’d be like you throwing your assets at a market that had no chance of creating value or profit.”

He goes on to say, “if we’re honest and genuine, we should point our collective finger at ourselves, and our culture. It’s the fault of the collective that our own cultural values create less and less inspiration for working with our hands, from generation to generation.

I’d hoped that the recession might have helped with this some, that we’d have reacted like our parents and grandparents did during the Great Depression – it seemed that they learned the value of a buck, understood the reward of compensation for  something tangible, and found out first hand that there’s no free lunch. But we rarely get those lessons, do we?”

Sweatt concludes that “our culture today supports quick fixes, and encourages observation rather than participation. That’s counter to what manufacturers are and what they do, and maybe that’s part of the problem. We’ve learned to live without doing for ourselves.”

Read the complete article, “Don’t Blame The Schools For Closing Machining & Manufacturing Programs

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