Not only around Labor Day, but all year round, as we marvel at the infrastructure of this city, we should salute the workers who rendered these architectural and engineering dreams into reality. Many of these workers acquired their brilliant skills as students in our public school career and technical education programs.
Look up at the wondrous new World Trade Center structures. You’ve got to respect the responsibility and expertise shown by the electricians, plumbers and many other highly specialized professionals who have mastered their roles and implemented all the tasks and logistics of this and countless other complex projects that require intensive coordination and allow no room for error.
These workers build and keep safe our bridges, tunnels, water supply and highway systems and sewage disposal operations. Many other categories of critical jobs that we all depend on are being filled by career and technical education student alumni.
Their preparation isn’t easy. The course work is every bit as substantial as that of any traditional academic major. There is, in fact, a strong and growing academic component in their studies. That training not only increases subject knowledge but also is designed to sharpen judgment when performing their vital employment. A high level of sophistication is called for.
Historically, New York City public schools have been on the cutting edge of quality career and technical education nationwide. They still hold the banner high. So let’s reinvigorate them by publicly supporting them every chance we get. Advancing the cause of career and public education is not a partisan issue. It’s a practical idea and a necessity that will continue to benefit us all.