Trade schools offers alternative education

Quinn Brown, Lamp staff

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In just nine months, Ethan Windell plans to have a certificate in hand and a job lined up.

Windell is one of many students choosing trade schools over the traditional college route, he’s is in a welding program at Midwest Technical Institute in Springfield.

“College is not for me — I always hated school, until I found welding,” Windell said.

Windell chose the hands-on education, and he said the school’s alumni network will help him find a job after graduation.

Book learning isn’t for everyone. Many people learn better doing something rather than reading about it.

As fewer schools are teaching students skill-based classes, such as home economics or woodshop; many students have turned their attention from traditional classroom-based schools to trade schools.

The namesake and owner of Miles T-shirts, Miles Parkhill said he attended trade school during high school. Parkhill went to the Capital Area Career Center, also know as CACC or CA for short.

During his junior and senior years of high school, he went for the graphic arts program in the late ’90s and later started his own business making everything from T-shirts to laser-engraved bag tags for disc golf.

Parkhill just moved his business into a newly remodeled warehouse/office/music studio on West North Street, sharing a parking lot with Kim’s Autobody.

Visitors immediately see racks of the business’s different shirts, hoodies, and jackets. In the back, there’s a warehouse full of pneumatic machines printing T-shirts and huge heating conveyor belt. On the other side of the building, there’s a room where employees bring their bands into practice; nearly everyone who works there is in a band.

With a trade school, Parkhill said, “You get set up with a skill that you can be right out of high school and can have a job that pays better than your basic entry-level position.”

Parkhill also comments on how many people don’t stop with trade school. They go on to college afterward.

Windell adds that people think that the only people who go to trade schools are “big ol’ white, fat guys” and “rednecks,”

That stereotype just isn’t true, Windell said. It’s just like high school. Not everyone is the same. There are many differing groups of people who attend.