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Old School, New Ideas



When I was reading last week's cover article "Get to Work," about how the Building Trades class (and other vocational programs) would be losing their funding, I couldn't help but feel frustrated. 1) Because it hurts the whole of our community to not value our plumbers, carpenters, auto repairmen, etc.  (just imagine your typical AP English student trying to fix your car ... ), 2) Having trade programs increases local employment rates and reduces violence and use of drugs, and 3) These programs could be profit generating rather than dependent on Sacramento and Washington.

I couldn't help but wonder if there was any way for schools to think more like a business in order to keep these vocational classes.  

Why should they depend on the whims of government funding?  

Couldn't there be a mechanism in the community to support programs like Building Trades where everyone benefits?  

The article itself mentions that the houses built by the students sell and the program breaks even.  

The problem is that the school has to advance the cost.  


A prospective homeowner could fork the bill for the lot purchase and building materials — and in return they get a custom house built at a huge reduction in cost.  

Or, how about integrating a class where students are in charge of defending the project to potential investors? You have now created a new class of young community members trained in a valuable skill set: Understanding the real estate market, making wise business decisions, and pitching them to investors. I am unfamiliar with all of the many potential bureaucratic hang-ups to these ideas, but it seems to me that it is time for Humboldt County to work toward its own solutions.

Karin Roscoe, Arcata

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