The following article is adapted from an earlier posting at Al Fin Next Level
Residential schools can offer a level of immersion learning that is not possible in the hustle and bustle world of omnipresent distractions such as we see in the conventional day schooling environment. When the residential school culture was applied to trade school learning in Pennsylvania, something very interesting emerged.
“With its old-timey rituals, rigorous scheduling, and immersive culture, Williamson has a military-school feel.” But according to the students she interviewed, the prospect of a good-paying career makes the strict rules more than worth it. __ Source
“Full Employment” and Tuition is Affordable
When they graduate they begin working at jobs with starting pay as high as $75,000 to $105,000 per year. Tuition for all three years is affordable and often free, with most students coming from impoverished and troubled families. Each applicant must take the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB), and the school accepts only one out of three applicants.
Williamson College of the Trades is a three year residential institution. Students must “dress up” every day in coat and tie, assemble in chapel, and pledge allegiance to the flag.
It’s a residential institution where 19- to 22-year-old kids from hard-up families line up in ties and jackets every morning to be inspected before going to chapel and pledging allegiance to the American flag, and where anyone who violates the no-drugs-and-alcohol policy is immediately out on his ear, no exceptions. And some might laugh at the notion of promising trade-school graduates starting with pay as high as $75,000, and maybe even $105,000, a year debt-free—a future that many Ivy League grads would envy. __ https://www.city-journal.org/williamson-college-of-the-trades
A tough “no drugs and alcohol” policy goes a long way to keeping a young person focused on present tasks and future goals.
Don’t laugh at the idea of trade school. These are jobs that cannot be outsourced to China or Bangladesh. Understand that these days regular university has been dumbed down so far that at least 25% of “four year college” graduates are doomed to a life of minimum wage jobs, and will never pay back their student loans. Trade school graduates with jobs paying between $50,000 a year and $100,000 a year will have a chance for a better life than a huge number of conventional college-goers who either drop out or end up deeply in debt.
Seventy-four per cent of students graduate in three years. More than 30% of these kids go on to get higher degrees. More valuable than any degree is the sense of pride and competence they get from learning the skills that will allow them to get a job almost anywhere.
… real craftsmanship is itself a source of deep satisfaction and communal respect. “I never ceased to take pleasure in the moment, at the end of a job, when I would flip the switch. ‘And there was light,’ ” Matthew Crawford writes about his early career as an electrician. “It was an experience of agency and competence. The effects of my work were visible for all to see, so my competence was real for others as well; it had a social currency.” __ https://www.city-journal.org/williamson-college-of-the-trades
Williamson challenges conventional wisdom among liberals and in the education establishment about the dearth of opportunity for kids who don’t go to a traditional four-year college and the toxins of traditional masculinity. And partly because of that, Williamson changes lives. __ https://www.city-journal.org/williamson-college-of-the-trades
Boarding school culture for boys at Williamson is quite different from the free and easy coed culture at most “four year university” campuses. At most universities, college is a place where kids go to binge, fornicate, experiment with drugs, receive a world class indoctrination, and devise clever ways to have fun using “other people’s money” while accruing a debt that will burden them over much of their lifetimes.
Williamson is a 130 year old trade school that continues to do its best to present an alternative approach to preparing youth for a productive future. And if a skilled tradesman later decides to go on to a higher degree and profession, who is going to stop him?
Note that there are other trade schools that can train students for jobs that often provide higher rates of pay. The Utica Shale Academy is a high school that trains students in high paying college-level job skills for the oil & gas trades. This Mississippi high school trains young students in advanced welding and fabrication skills — trades that are in high demand these days across the US.
Dangerous Children © must master at least three skill sets that would allow them to support themselves financially — by the age of 18. But that is another topic. Ordinary youth would likewise profit from the satisfaction of possessing practical skills that make it easier to either start a family, or to go on to higher educational pursuits without the ruinous levels of debt that have become so common among college students.
Immersion level learning is a powerful tool. There was a time in the US when residential trade schools were more common, as were apprentice-style learning situations. Although Williamson College is a post-secondary school, it is time to consider bringing back secondary school level residential training for the teaching of practical skills and trades.