If you are a frequent reader of this blog, you already know I seem to talk a lot about the lack of skilled labor in the construction industry. Now people outside of the industry are starting to join in the discussion. Here is an article from The Watchdog about this very topic. It seems there is also a trend to rename the so-called “blue collar” jobs to the “silver collar”. This is in part to the high starting salaries being reported. I say we need to do whatever it takes to get people to realize the important role that skilled workers play in the labor force.
Rise of the “silver collar” workforce: When a four-year degree isn’t the right move
By Rob Nikolewski │ Watchdog.org
This may come as bad news for parents who have spent tens of thousands of dollars sending their kids to expensive universities, but one path for young people getting a good job requires just a two-year degree or, in some cases, no college degree at all.
“The reality is, most jobs do not require a four-year college degree,” said William C. Symonds, executive director at the Global Pathways Institute at Arizona State. “What they do require is some solid technical skills. And the best way to get those is at a program lasting two years or less.”
The average amount of college student loan debt rose last year to an average of $28,400 while an increasing number of graduates either can’t find work or are working at jobs that don’t even require a bachelor’s degree to begin with, leaving many of them — their parents included — wondering if they’ve wasted their money.
“I think we made a real mistake as a country moving away from the vocational school option, absolutely. That’s where many of the jobs are needed,” said Symonds, whose organization concentrates on fixing what he’s called the “disconnect between education and business.”
“There was so much emphasis on going to four-year schools, we have the highest college dropout rate in the world and the costs are out of control and students are taking on a lot of debt,” Symonds told Watchdog.org in a telephone interview.
While it’s true statistics show that overall, those with bachelor’s degree and higher tend to make more money than those who don’t, there are some fields where workers who received associate’s degrees in two years — or certifications that can take as little as six weeks — are making good livings.
“I think we lost focus on the fact that middle-skill jobs also pay reasonably well,” said David Longanecker, president of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, based in Colorado. “You get to them much quicker and for many people, the nature of the work is rewarding than the work that comes with a a bachelor’s degree because you’re working with your hands.”
Oh, By The Way… The article is continued here. After you finish reading it, come back and let me know what you think.