NPR News Reports that While Students Compete to Get into College, Good Skilled Jobs Remain Unfilled
“High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up for University,” a story aired on NPR News on April 25, 2018, presents some compelling evidence that reinforces an important lesson . . .
Some of the take-aways in the NPR story included:
- While college students are lining up to go to college and pursue studies that promise uncertain unemployment after graduation, employers are trying to fill tens of thousands of vacant skilled-labor jobs that are available right now.
- There are about 30 million jobs in the U.S. that pay an average of $55,000 a year, yet don’t require a bachelor’s degree.
- Although people who have earned college degrees still enjoy an earning advantage over the course of their lifetimes, their financial advantage is softening. Plus, practitioners of skilled trades generally don’t incur college debt.
- Parents are generally more gung-ho than their children are about earning a college degree. Parents still view college as part of the American dream.
- The Washington State Auditor has recommended that school counselors begin to talk to students about entering the skilled trades when those students are in the seventh grade.
- 70% of construction companies report that they are finding it difficult to fill their available jobs. Yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that jobs in construction, health care and personal care will account for one-third of all new job creation through year 2022.
- According to the U.S. Department of Education, individuals who have had technical training are more likely to be employed than college grads are.
- In Washington DC, there is currently bipartisan support for making Pell Grants available for technical job training, not only for college.
- Discrimination is taking place. When most families are looking for good communities to move to, one of their biggest concerns is the percentage of high school students who go on to college. Technical training is not on their radar.
And the Door to College Does Not Close . . .
The NPR story does not point out the fact that practitioners of skilled trades can start college virtually any time they want. The choice between college and a skilled trade is not binary. With the right outlook and career plan, today’s students can combine the benefits of college and skilled employment in their professional lives.
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