Tim Cook is right

There has been a lot of criticism of Tim Cook's 60 Minutes comment that the US lacks the vocational skills to host the scale of manufacturing that the Apple has in China. The commentators that I have read do not understand that for every multiple of manual laborers you need a skilled laborer. A manufacturing line does not work without having skilled and experienced designers and maintainers. The less manufacturing that happens in the US the less we have those skills and experiences. Not to mention the concomitant need of local suppliers of raw materials, parts, and consultative or otherwise specialized skills. The world might be a global market, but manufacturing is a local activity.

For a specific data point, look to your school district and see how much vocational education is being funded. Do you see that where once your school district had its own vocation school or track in High School and now that has been replaced with a single regional vocational school? Do you see that the remaining high school "shop" classes in High School metal, wood, automobile, etc have been underfunded and full-time faculty are now part-time? Do you hear the school administration's mantra what "fewer students want this education" and then ask yourself, "why would this generation's interests be vastly different than any previous generation's interests?" We see the same mantra and consequences in music, the visual arts, and the performance arts programs.

Tim Cook is right.