After bad trade deals, such as NAFTA, CAFTA and many others, Americans moved away from getting involved in skilled trades and jobs that involved manufacturing because so many of those jobs went overseas.
High School’s and junior high used to have industrial arts programs otherwise known as shop class. My shop class had everything from woodworking, to sand casting, welding and even drafting. Those programs were mostly cut and students were encouraged to get good grades so they could get into a great college and find a high paying job.
So that is what they all did. Many borrowing tens of thousands of dollars to get that BA or BS and soon found out they were fed a line of BS. They were up to their necks in debt they could not repay and the job market had so much competition, that jobs were hard to come by. Many found themselves either going back to school and getting even more into debt while others gave up and resolved to work in fast food or other low paying jobs while trying to dodge those collection calls. However, since most student loans are very difficult to get discharged by filing bankrupt.
Now we have a labor force of well educated unskilled workers and not enough people who can work on machines, build machines, build homes, or other skilled trades such as electrical, plumbing and masonry.
There are currently over 1.5 million skilled trades jobs that need to be filled. Likewise manufacturers are having a hard time filling their open positions. Trade schools can help for those who can afford them, but apprenticeships are another solution to the problem. Those employers that need those workers will have to bear some of the cost of training and education if they want to fill those jobs.
The problem will not be resolved over night, but for those who want to get into those jobs, the sky is the limit once you get the skills.