Penetrating NPR podcast you can listen to here: High Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up for University.
There is an unfortunate mythology that the only way for your kid to make a living is after they go to college. In fact, as the value of a Bachelor degree continues to plummet downward, and the economy continues to recover, there is a voluminous amount of trade jobs just waiting to be filled. As this NPR blog points out, there are some 30 million jobs in the US with an average income of $55,000 per year that do not require a Bachelor degree.
Meanwhile, 3 out of 10 high school grads who go to 4-year public universities have NOT earned degrees within six years, according to the National Student Clearinghouse, and at 4-year private colleges that number is more than 1 in 5.
For the money you will presumably pay to a college, there is very little data indicating this reliably leads to your child having a career when they graduate. This is because families fall for the erroneous idea that if they just get their kid into college everything else will fall into place. Good luck with that!
Parents, you need to wake up and realize, as this article points out, when you look at the types of wages that apprenticeship and other career areas pay and the fact that you don’t have to pay four years of tuition AND that your child is paid while they learn, these other paths really need some serious consideration.
For example: 70% of construction companies nationwide are having trouble finding qualified workers, according to the Associated General Contractors of America. And in the state of Washington, this figure is more like 80%. It is shocking but true that there are already more trade jobs including carpentry, electrical, plumbing, sheet metal work and pipefitting then there are Washingtonians to fill them.
As parents you need to reevaluate whether you are going to buy into the mythology that a Bachelor degree is an essential part of the American dream. A lot of this can be caused by the idea that you need to “keep up with the Joneses,” and that the prestige of the name of the college your child goes to is important.
As this article points out, and my experience as a career guidance counselor confirms, people go to college without a plan, without a career in mind, because the mindset in high school is just “go to college”.
I’ve been hammering away on the following message for years: Don’t send your teenager to college unless you have had them go through an in-depth career assessment process.
Here is my process captured in our three-minute movie: Personalized Matching Video