I was half listening to a CBC radio piece about youth employment and my mind drifted back to my secondary education. The late 1960s was still the age of sex, drugs and rock and roll and I chose to attend a business college. My choice was a 2 year privately owned for profit school.
One day a week we were required to wear business attire. Facial hair was prohibited and hair over a certain length was prohibited. Curriculum included accounting, statistics, physiology, public speaking, business English, Business math and an emphasis on computer programming and applications. Ever student had to type 50 words a minute without looking at the typewriter.
Frequently each student was offered a job interview conducted by various local employers. These were real interviews that might result in a part time job or a job offer on graduation. It also taught the student about how interviews worked and how to prepare for an interview.
There was no public funding at this school thus they could impose whatever rules they wished. If a student did not like the rules they could leave. The school usually had a list of employers who wanted to hire recent graduates. The school also offered employment placement assistance for life and refresher courses for life (without fee). Sadly, after over a century in business, Albany Business College closed their doors.
The complete focus of the school was to prepare quality, qualified and prepared individuals to enter a business workplace.
I was well prepared and entered an industry that provided me with a rewarding 47 year career. Two of my roommates went on to complete a 4 year degree in the State University system. One of the two became a millionaire many times over and is world renown in the fashion industry. The other became CFO of a large manufacturer and has enjoyed a comfortable life. Another started a produce business and owned | operated a family general store. Another friend started a concrete pumping business which is going strong to this day. One started a residential contracting business and another owns a successful chain of auto dealerships. Finally, and perhaps the happiest and well adjusted of us all, had a little landscape business and was stoned every day since 1967.
What I find interesting is we were the rebels. The wild bunch. The parents of pretty girls did not like us. We drank beer, drove fast cars and simply did not really care what others thought of us. Yet when the time came we adjusted as required and did what was necessary. I suspect the rebel attitude has always cooked away in the background and served us well.
My much admired and respected employer of many years once said to me in exacerbation, “your generation always has to ask why”. I was flattered by the comment.
We were fortunate that our parents could help with the financial burden of our education. The various colleges and secondary schools focused on providing an education with a desired outcome. I know we live in different times but I do wonder what our secondary education institutions are aiming for.