Department Chair

Dr. John Popovich

Date of Award


Access Control

Open Access

Degree Name

Career and Technical Education, M.S.Ed.


Educational Foundations Department


Dr. Steve Macho

First Reader

Dr. Steve Macho

Second Reader

Dr. John Popovich

Third Reader

Dr. John Earshen


The United Stated of America has pushed for all to gain a higher level of education. For many years schools steered underperforming students into vocational studies. This placed a stigma on those who learn or perform vocational careers to be less than those whom have completed a college degree. Now (2019) America is facing a shortage of skilled trades persons. Those who entered a vocation soon learn that many of the skilled trades are demanding positions which require not only skill, but knowledge and dedication to learn. With the growth of technology, many of the trades require higher levels of math and science skills.

Less people are learning what is needed to build, repair, or maintain that which is used daily or that will last a life time. Has education policy and reform affected the skill trades labor force? The perception of young people needing furtherance of education through means of college to become successful in life may have driven people away from working with their hands. A series of quantitative research was used to determine if education policy and reform has affected the skilled trades industry in a negative way.

There is an increasing shortage of those who are entering the field on a yearly basis coupled with those who are leaving the many trades, has started a bidding war for talent. Most students find they are receiving job offers before they finish school. With the rising cost of college tuition compared to the lower cost of vocational trade school and the un-known employment market for certain degrees versus the almost guarantee of employment, one would think a shortage would not be upon us.

The research shows a correlation of those who have sought higher education and the shrinkage that occurred in the skilled trades.