You grew up taking machine shop services for granted. Your father was the owner of a small engine repair shop and his business was located next to one of the most well respected machine shop services in town. When your father was working on a lawn mower or a snow blower and needed a small piece reworked, rebuilt, or repaired, he simply walked across the parking lot and consulted with his closest business peer. Between you father and his friend, they could accurately assess whether a new part needed to be ordered or if there was a way to repair the current one.

Today, however, machine shop services are far more complicated. In the last four decades there are more and more engines and machines that are built with parts made of lesser quality materials. Parts that are more disposable than repairable. As a result, there are sometimes fewer machine shop services available, and those that are in operation often work with big clients and do not always have time to work with one individual who has a request for the repair of one small part. Increasing the challenge of getting these services is the fact that there are fewer and fewer people who are going into these kinds of careers.

Americans Need to Focus on the Value of Basic Trades in Today’s Economy

Convinced that they need to pursue a four year college degree, there are a limited number of people who are being trained in the valuable skills that machine shops rely on. And while there is increased technology that can help with some repairs, the fact of the matter is that there are a number of machines and skills that date back centuries. Consider, for instance, one of the most basic tools, the lathe.

The first machine tools ever recorded in existence, in fact, were the bow lathe and the bow drill. These first machine tools were handcrafted and date back to 1200 B.C. Still serving the same purpose, lathes are used to create a wide array of products as diverse as gun barrels and candle sticks, and musical instruments and table legs. As more and more Americans realize the value of these machining and other skills, many are hoping that there will be an increase in the number of students who see the value in training for these kinds of fields.

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