Massachusets Governor Charlie Baker does come up with a good idea once in a while, which indicates that he is paying attention to normal people and not just climate change extremists at least some of the time. One of those good ideas is Baker's proposal to invest in vocational education.

In his State of the Commonwealth Address delivered to a joint session of the Massachusetts Legislature on Tuesday night, Baker proposed a $15 million investment in vocational education. Baker says his plan establishes a partnership that would train 20,000 workers in trades and technical jobs over several years.

"Career Technical Institutes will turbocharge our approach to applied learning and industry-specific credentialing," Baker said.

The State House News Service said the partnership will "transform" vocational schools to "provide classes in three shifts so that adults can take classes in the evening, traditional high school students after their regular school day, and full-time vocational students during their regular class hours."

This idea is on the mark and should receive even more funding. Ever try to find a plumber or electrician if you are not a regular customer? The need is significant.

By investing in vocational education, Massachusetts would commit to the students not interested in attending a traditional four-year college. Many of those students tend to fall through the cracks by about middle school because their opportunities to pursue something other than a college degree are limited.

We are finally learning that not all career paths involve a traditional four-year college. Investing in vocational education is investing in all of our children so that each has an equal opportunity for success in a field that interests and best suits them.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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