Knowing the history of technical colleges helps students understand the usefulness of these learning institutions.
Lessons from the Past
Over time, the need for education became more and more apparent in society. Though most of the skills taught and used in the world were skills which were necessary in the labor dependent society, it became clearer in the colonies that learning a vocation could help a person have a purpose in their lives, while also giving them a way to help in society. By training apprentices first under the watchful eye of an expert, these apprentices could learn the details of a specific job set. These learning systems were mainly highly motivated, there were other instances in which slaves and captured enemies were sent to job training in order to help them be effective in society.
The Race Question
Once the Civil War was over and slavery seemed to be resolved to end, Samuel Chapman Armstrong founded the Hampton Institute for African Americans to learn job skills. Continued government support of more and more learning programs led to additional vocational and technical schools. These schools were teaching people who to be effective in the job market, which was still developing.
Choosing to become more skilled in the job market was not a question after a time. As technology developed and people were focused less on farming and more on production, people needed to learn how to operate equipment which would save them labor and improve efficiency. Theodore Roosevelt saw the growing need for vocational and technical college programs, and helped to usher in a new time of training and of education.
Today, technical colleges are still used to help teach specific skills, though they are not seen as being as helpful as higher academia in teaching a rounded education. But when specific job skills are needed in a short period of time, choosing a specialized training program does make more sense than spending time on subjects which do not apply to the intended career path.