You'll probably be saddened to learn that I was taught how to weld...as a theatre major. I have a Bachelor's of Fine Art in Theatre Production. That is essentially the equivalent of a vocational training in theatre (whereas as straight BA with a theatre major would have more general education and therefore fewer actual theatre credits). I attended the second largest university in the state and was the only graduate with a theatre degree that year. I live now in a city with one of the largest universities in the country in my backyard and they only graduate a handful. For most, and especially for technical/production types there is plenty of work.
As to hard skills I had classes that all or in part covered art history, extensive amount of studies in greek history and literature, architecture, engineering, electrical engineering, decor, art theory, drafting, sociology, CAD, furniture design, sculpture, costume history and a lot more theory and history that might relate to a specific production. Additionally there was actual hands-on training, so after a morning of classes learning how to safely design a set that could support the weight on 20 tap dancers but still come apart in mere second in complete darkness, we would then spend all afternoon building it. Interpreting drawings, all manner or carpentry, electrical, welding, painting techniques, etc. And of course in the evening for rehearsals we would actually operate the sets or equipment we had designed and built. I can think of no other college major where an undergraduate would do so much direct application of the skills taught in the classroom. Although I no longer work in theatre my ability to think creatively and practically, and the broad knowledge in so many different subjects have served me very ably.
True, but on the other hand, there is at least some small segment of the upper class that realizes that if they suppress the working class too much or leech a way too much wealth, they and their peers may finds themselves with a nose to the floorboards view of a guillotine. It seems like our current cohort of elites may have forgotten this lesson, though their are certainly a few like Gates, Soros and Buffet who recognize the warning signs. I am not, by the way recommending this option. Though in turns of income I'm probably working class or low middle class, by virtue of being white, male and educated the prospect of a serious worker uprising in this country wouldn't work out too well for me or my family.
the best spinach i ever ate turned out be be fennel...
It all depends on the department. I studied theatre design, and so spent most of my time in a "lab" that included just about every shop tool under the sun, welding equipment, various paints and glues, not to mention heavy equipment like gantry cranes and several huge hydraulic lifts. Our shop was clean, well-lit and the tools were maintained. The was because the professors and other faculty made us keep it that way. I have seen certain freshmen forced to sweep the same floor four and five times over until they finally got it done right.
By senior year I had some spare time, so I took a few sculpture classes. Basically all the same tools, but most broken and dull. Dirt and dust was everywhere, and students where let loose on all types of equipment, even table saws with no training. Of course being arts students there was a lot of long hair and dangling jewelry, no fire extinguishers, no first aid kit, no faculty presence and a facility that was unsecured 24-7.
Needless to say i did all my work in the theatre shop and only went to the sculpture labs for classes.
I find your post hilariously ironic. As a so-called "gifted" student, like an earlier poster I was prevented from taking any shop classes in high-school. But, I could sign up for theatre classes, and in those (since I had no desire to act) I learned how to use all the basic shop tools, as well as basic electrical work, lighting, and sound.
I went on to get a BFA in theatre design, the only college curriculum that combined architecture, design, and engineering with actually producing the stuff you imagined. I learned to weld, to paint, make perfect dovetail joints, repair most tools, even how to sew....all as part of my coursework! I now work for Habitat for Humanity, where the best part of my job is teaching new volunteers how to use tools and build houses.
I've always said I would make a great shop teacher, but as far as I've ever heard, those jobs are long gone, plus no one can tell me where to even begin to get the training I would need.
"I have more information in one place than anybody in the world." -- Jerry Pournelle, an absurd notion, apparently about the BIX BBS