Where did our technology career ladders go?
02/04/2012 11 Comments
Many local citizen like to think of our community as a high tech mecca, or in a more realistic assessment an applied technology mecca. Regardless of the technology levels used, the community is very clever at hiding this technology from our children.
Grass Valley is recognized around the world for the regions digital video technology, yet we lack career ladders for our young people to participate in this expanding world of video technology and businesses that surround it. At least that is my understanding, from a luncheon conversation with a local video industry observer.
Looking at the Sierra College Catalog, I could only find two video related courses. I understand the High School only has one video production course. It seems to me that as a globally recognized video cluster that we need a more focused effort to train our young people in the video industry, from both sides of the camera.
It takes more than engineers to create and manufacture a product. The local video industry needs technicians as well as engineers to do quality control and testing tasks. According to the industry observer local companies are paying engineers to do jobs that qualified technician could do. We seem to lack a career ladder for technicians, except for some limited on the job training.
The question is could we do a better job of getting our young people involved and excited about all aspects of the video business? Such a program could help local companies be more productive by creating a technician career ladder in both manufacturing and video production? With a strong technician core, engineers could focus more on innovation and creativity, while reducing production costs.
We need a program that starts with video shop classes in high school from manufacturing, repairing and maintaining equipment to how to use this equipment in the studio. Then on high school graduation, move to the community college level for certification as a video tech. Shop should not be a “four letter word” it should be a ticket to a future job.
A technical related career path often starts early in a young persons life when they have some hands on experience, and have an exciting “ah ha moment” discovering how science really works. When the Nevada County Imaginarium was open we took our grandchildren to see and experience the wonders of discovery. Before we had our local imaginarium, we took our own children to San Francisco so they could visit the one there. Multiple times for our youngest, where she discovered interactive Apple computers.
Although our youngest has a Masters in Writing and Publishing, and is currently a Director of Communications for a large school, she was once an IT tech capitalizing on the skills she taught herself and learned at NU ROP. Hands on experience is a vital part of learning. She developed the first GV/NC Chamber and Transportation Commission Web pages, shortly after graduating from high school.
Now the Imaginarium is closed, and perhaps gone for ever with the National Guard Armory up for sale. Apparently it can no longer be used for school projects, due to some earthquake structural rules that might apply in the LA or Bay Area, but not in our rather stable foothills. How can we expect our children to become scientist and technicians without the tools to energize their imagination. To give them a thirst for discovery, the juice to stay in the game when the math and science courses get harder and harder as they progress up the academic ladder.
For an applied tech community, or high tech if you prefer, we seem to be hiding these rewarding technical career ladders from our children. Why?