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Lack of vocational workers in Minn. starts in high school

BRAINERD, Minn. (AP) — Some Minnesota companies are struggling to fill manufacturing jobs, and one big reason is likely the decline of technical trade courses in the state's high schools.

Minnesota Public Radio reports ( ) that the No Child Left Behind initiative caused schools to shift their resources toward core subject areas like math and reading. They cut shop classes like machining, welding and robotics.

One private estimate suggests the number of tech teachers in the state has dropped from more than 1,200 to around 750 in recent years. Mike Lindstrom, a retired industrial tech teacher who tracks that number, says shop classes are considered electives in most schools. And that makes them endangered.

There's good money in manufacturing. The average salary in the field in Minnesota is more than $56,000, the state estimates.

Information from: Minnesota Public Radio News,