I agree about the loss of woodworking class's in high schools. I had a cabinet shop back in Illinois for many years. We made kitchen cabinets and also commercial. I got involved with the high school building trades class's. They had eliminated woodshop, metalshop etc but had a program where the kids would build a house. These were big houses also. One of the kids taking the class moved into a new home we did the cabinetry for. Through him I met the teacher and we started providing cabinets for these homes. It evolved into 4 of the districts schools and lasted for almost 20 years. Over that time I hired a number of these kids for my shop. It was a great program that the teacher ran like a sports team. I would buy jackets for the kids with, "It takes studs to build houses" and a logo on the back. These were kids that may of fallen through the cracks as they had little interest in college, and saw that this gave them an opportunity for a job for life. I would work with the architectural class's to design the kitchens, bathrooms, entertainment centers etc. Then we would build the cabinets and I would teach them how to install the cabinets. I gained a number of great employees out of this program.
AT the end of each year, they would have an open house with all the districts big shots attending at the homes. Discussions would get around to not having shop classes and how they felt getting kids ready for college was the most important task. They would say the trades are a dying industry, of course I would argue the point. Pointing out I was the guy that got their graduates who could not add 1/2" and 1/4", or read a tape measure. I would point out how much a plumber, electrician or carpenter was and how we needed better trained not less trained workers. I also pointed out how wonderful it was they could say 75% or 80% of their kids went on to college. I would agree but say you didn't finish the sentence. Half dropped out the first year and they were lucky if 25% graduated in 4 years. And they left those kids with no training for life. All their skills were taking tests to get into college.
After I sold my business in Illinois I moved to Arizona, where I became a rep, selling all the items I had purchased over my life. Wood, laminate etc. I would also work with the AWI Architectural Woodworking Institute, our trade association. They have programs for schools to teach woodworking, including programs for graduating kids. It was one of my joys to work with these schools here in Az.
Since I have retired I continued my love of woodworking. I have a shop in my garage and always have a project going on. This past weekend it was finishing up my two granddaughters closets. New Dressers, hamper shelving etc. As I was working I was thinking why no kids ever stopped by, I would love to mentor one. We live in a family neighborhood but you rarely see kids outside anymore, even when the weather is perfect like now, in the 80's. They all stay in playing video games etc. I'm concerned for our future. I know how difficult it is for shops to hire people today, even tho they do pay well. It's not something kids are even told about. And, administrators have an attitude that anyone not in Tech is somehow less of a person.
I was never one to hand my kids (3 girls 2 boys) money. But I always had ways they could earn it, coming to the shop with me. Maybe just sweeping but they had to work. My youngest son struggled with school, He was a good student but had school phobia. He worked for my for one summer during HS, after about two weeks he said you know Dad...I learned more about math here than I have in my whole life at school. All of a sudden 1/4" had meaning, it wasn't just a theory. Today he is in tech making BIG bucks, but, his love is woodworking. He is still in ILL but I went back and spent a couple weeks with him last year, making furniture and files for his office at home. It was a great time for both of us. He said I wished you still had your shop, that he would love to be doing that rather than his high tech crap. I laughed and said, but you make money, I made a living.
To answer the original question, I don't know. I would love to teach and even thought about contacting a boy scout or cub scout troop about helping them with some projects. I'm always making something and enjoy it thoroughly, probably more than when I had to do it for a living. Now I do it because I love it.
If anyone has any ideas about getting kids interested I would love to hear them. Kids just don't associate with others anymore, they rather text than talk. They aren't outside playing or riding their bikes. It's very disheartening to me..
Sorry for my rambling, but this subject has been on my mind a lot lately. Thanks