While these developments are hopeful, it is important to note that not all individuals are either suited for or desirous of this type of education. As a community, we need to ensure that we all have a means by which to earn a decent living. One option that would benefit from increased advocacy, and federal and state support, is vocational training.
Vocational training is not widely presented with the dignity and emphasis that befits a solution to some of the economic hardship that Latinos endure. In many countries in Europe, for example, vocational training is regarded as a respected and viable option for many individuals who do not seek an advanced academic degree. The U.S. has not properly embraced the concept of trade skills and their importance to a thriving community.
This is, once again, an opportunity for us to provide some grass roots momentum to an idea that could fundamentally, over time, change the social dynamics of Latinos in this country. The Obama administration has proposed a 20 percent cut in funding for vocational programs for the fiscal year 2012. It is therefore up to us to become involved by contacting our representatives to demand well funded, effective training programs. It is up to us to visit schools and inquire about options that can be presented to those students who will plan not to attend college. Our future depends on it.