, Salem, MA


November 16, 2012

Vocational education isn’t what it used to be


Ben Kapnis, a senior at Salem High School, is completing the electrical vocational program and is planning to study electrical engineering in college. “I chose to go to Salem High School because I knew I wanted to go to college but didn’t know what I wanted to do. I chose the electrical program because it was hands-on and taught me real-life skills,” he says. “Every day, we are doing real projects like building an alarm or light system, and I am never bored. It was because of this program that I decided to try electrical engineering.”

We are living in a rapidly changing world, one in which middle-skills jobs that do not require a four-year degree are growing in importance. Technology is infiltrating not only the STEM and health care fields, but also the trades, requiring significantly more training. Just receiving a traditional high school degree will not be enough to fill these jobs.

We encourage anyone interested to take a tour of the high school vocational wing. You will come away inspired.


Linda Saris is director of Salem CyberSpace, an after-school program for low-income youths. Brian Cranney is president of Cranney Cos. in Danvers and a graduate of Salem High School’s vocational program.

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