How a small town shop class is sparking national debate on trades and craft

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Blog entry by Steve Diogo posted 03-28-2014 09:01 PM 1412 reads 0 times favorited 12 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Mike Rowe, the former host of “Dirty Jobs” and a passionate supporter of the skilled trades, has lent his support and talent to support the students of the Ottawa (Ill.) Township High School Industrial Arts program who walked out of class when it was announced that the program and its teacher were being axed. In response to the students’ actions, the school administration–who received a 5-percent pay raise in the same school board session that resulted in the decision to close the program–suspended the students and banned the seniors from attending their Senior Prom.

Those of us on LumberJocks pursue woodworking for a lot of different reasons. I suspect a lot of us are not professional tradesmen. But we love tools, and we love wood, and I think I’m safe in believing we all are saddened to see the loss of programs that teach kids about both. Rowe’s involvement is just the latest development that’s bringing the story of this small-town shop class into the national discussion on the future of the trades in America.

Read more here.


12 comments so far

View BTimmons's profile


2298 posts in 1909 days

#1 posted 03-29-2014 01:46 AM

Thanks for sharing that.

I’d bet good money that the school district in question has no problem finding money for their football program. Priorities…

-- Brian Timmons -

View cabmaker's profile


1473 posts in 2233 days

#2 posted 03-29-2014 03:00 AM

Brian that would be a safe bet for sure ! Many districts forgot, its a game!

View lightweightladylefty's profile


3128 posts in 3136 days

#3 posted 03-29-2014 05:02 AM

I agree with Brian. Where are our priorities?


-- Jesus is the ONLY reason for ANY season.

View NormG's profile


5434 posts in 2428 days

#4 posted 03-29-2014 09:39 PM

Very interesting way to handle things. I hope they get the shop back in service, remove those involved and get people in there that want to educate their children. This is a fine example of how we have become a throw away society.

-- Norman

View NormG's profile


5434 posts in 2428 days

#5 posted 03-29-2014 09:44 PM

Here is the Mayor’s email

-- Norman

View Steve Diogo's profile

Steve Diogo

89 posts in 1016 days

#6 posted 03-29-2014 09:52 PM

Norm, the mayor doesn’t really have a role in this, and he’s an awesome guy and a great mayor. These are the people responsible:


View a1Jim's profile


115177 posts in 3001 days

#7 posted 03-29-2014 10:23 PM

I’m afraid this is way too common ,industrial arts programs across America are in decline .In the future when all of the the non trades type people have no one to build their homes or repair there cars or build their custom furiture
May be then the industrial arts will get funding in our schools . It’s a shame that the only time there’s a push for trades people and people that work with their hands is during time of war.
Thanks for your post Steve this problem certainly needs some light shed on it.

-- Custom furniture

View Steve Diogo's profile

Steve Diogo

89 posts in 1016 days

#8 posted 03-29-2014 10:37 PM

View changeoffocus's profile


457 posts in 1041 days

#9 posted 03-29-2014 10:51 PM

Our school districts did this several years ago, I always felt the teachers looked down upon the trades people and saw no reason for those programs. As an employer of skilled trades I know for a fact that we offer jobs that pay well. The rural schools students still have those classes and they always score well on the apprenticeship entry tests. My bet is lot of the young college graduates up to their eye balls in debt would think differently about the skilled trades. I am obviously prejudiced.
A sad deal indeed.

View JoeinGa's profile


7386 posts in 1431 days

#10 posted 03-29-2014 10:59 PM

Yep, this handwriting has been on the wall for a LOOOONG time coming. They did the same stuff to most band/music programs and now they’re looking for “other stuff” to cut so they can get their bonuses & raises. SUX big time!

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View NormG's profile


5434 posts in 2428 days

#11 posted 03-29-2014 11:14 PM

I hear he is a great guy. Maybe he can get involved with a more positive outcome

-- Norman

View clieb91's profile


3491 posts in 3359 days

#12 posted 03-30-2014 03:35 AM

Saw this earlier on FB and reposted the story there. As a graduate of a Vocational and Technical school that is now just a Technical school this is bad news everywhere. I visited my own high school a few years back and could not believe the number of shops that had been shut down and some that had been put in their place.As 2nd generation graduate of that school it truly saddens me to see even them putting college degrees, money and other things over teaching the trades.

I do hope that the kids and parents are able to win that battle up there.

VICA Alumni and proud of it.

-- Chris L. "Don't Dream it, Be it."- (Purveyors of Portable Fun and Fidgets)

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