Technical Education Fills the Needs of a Working World

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Contributed by Carrie Viohl

I recently came across quotes from two great thinkers. The first was from ancient Greek Philosopher, Aristotle: “Where your talents and the needs of the world cross; there lies your vocation.” (The modern version of this is, “Find what you love to do, and then find a way to get paid for doing it.”) The second was from Dirty Jobs host, Mike Rowe: “We've waged war on work. We have collectively agreed, stupidly, that work is the enemy.” Of course, Mr. Rowe wasn’t referring to mere employment. With a 5% unemployment rate in the United States, most of us do have jobs. But how many of us truly love our jobs? How many feel that our jobs are actually important? How many wake up and cannot wait to get our hands dirtied by the day’s work ahead of us? Additionally, how many of us would feel successful if our job actually entailed getting our hands dirty? Sometime between the end of Second World War and now, a “successful career” has come to be defined by a desk and a bank of filing cabinets.

In our region, however, some of the wealthiest, and arguably, most successful businessmen in this region do their business in the cab of a tractor, or while wearing a hardhat. Testifying before congress, Mr. Rowe said that, “In all 50 states, the single biggest challenge business owners are facing right now is finding people who are willing to retool, retrain, reboot and learn a truly useful skill from the ground up.” Technical and industrial careers are often overlooked by high school graduates, but those jobs are constantly in high-demand, and many pay very well. The national conversation right now is about how we can "make America great again." We can start to do that by respecting that so-called "Blue Collar" work is important work. It is vital work. We need workers who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty. This country needs nurses and carpenters and technicians and farmers and plumbers and mechanics and manufacturers.

Another way that we can rebuild and strengthen our nation is by going to work. Twenty-somethings are graduating in record numbers from traditional four-year colleges with incredible student debt and little to no experience. They are finding it increasingly difficult to secure employment in their area of study. Many wind up in entry-level positions, struggling to pay their bills, much less their towering student loans. Yet, there are millions of industrial positions that go unfilled annually because of a nation-wide deficit of skilled workers. Technical students are graduating with specific skillsets that employers are eager to put to work, and because technical education at Southern Regional Technical College is surprisingly affordable, they usually graduate with zero student debt. Incredibly, SRTC is able to boast a 100% job placement rate after graduation. It is time to re-think how we view technical education, and technical work. It is not for those who couldn’t do any better for themselves. It is how we do better for ourselves as a nation.

SRTC offers over 148 degree, diploma, and certificate programs that are designed to get you quickly into your desired career, and 27 general education courses that transfer to the University System of Georgia institutions and 19 private colleges and universities in Georgia. SRTC has instructional sites located in Ashburn, Cairo, Camilla, Moultrie, Thomasville, Tifton, and Sylvester for the convenience of our students. The College is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional body for the accreditation of degree-granting higher education institutions in the Southern states. For the most up-to-date information on registration, class dates, and program offerings, log on to or call (888) 205 – 3449.
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