Regarding the tech school proposal editorial (Opinion, Oct. 16):

I'm a recently retired shop teacher of 30 years. During my career, I was RIF'd (reduction in force) twice from the Jefferson School district where I began my career in 1984 teaching wood shop and electricity/electronics (Measure 5). As far as I know they still, to this day, do not have someone with my qualifications filling that position.

After parting with the Jefferson School District in 1991, I was hired by GAPS as a middle school Occupational Versatility teacher. This program exposed 6th, 7th and 8th grade students to woodshop, metal shop, welding, plastics, electronics, leather work and foundry. At the end of my second year here, I was RIF'd again, being the newest of the shop teachers in the district when the decision was made to close five shop programs within GAPS.

From Albany, I landed a position in the Central School District (Monmouth/Independence) as a woodshop/CAD instructor. I spent 20 productive years there. I was fortunate that my principals were supportive of the programs I taught, and thought they served our students well. Some of my students are now actual rocket scientists. Some are working in the trades, replacing retiring workers there. They are sprinkled everywhere in between.

We need them and these programs, and I could have told you this 30 years ago. These are the living-wage jobs Rob Hess talks about. I spent 30 years preparing students for them. They need continuing support now.

Bill Gsell

Albany (Oct. 17)

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