I don't need to tell JLC readers about the desperate shortage of young people entering the trades. When we read that our local school district would begin requiring that all students to apply to college or some other type of training after high school, my office manager and I knew we had to write this piece for the local paper: "Maine Voices: Building trades offer fulfilling careers for those without college degree."

Our school system has a good vocational program; I'm on the advisory board for the Carpentry program. I suspect, though, that it's used as a dumping ground for "problem" students, since few of the students end up in the trades. The positive response from other contractors didn't surprise me, but we've also heard from teachers, guidance counselors and administrators who also agree with the message.

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