Is college really all that important?…

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Is college really all that important?...

it depends.

If your life-​long ambi­tion is to be a doc­tor, lawyer, or engi­neer, a col­lege edu­ca­tion is unavoid­able. But what if you just want to earn a decent living?

Sev­eral weeks ago, my car was at the local deal­er­ship to have its tim­ing belt replaced — some­thing that is done at the 60K mark. The tech­ni­cian who had orig­i­nally told the the ser­vice guy that my 2008 Hyundai had a belt rather than a chain dis­cov­ered that the 2008 model year was split between belts and chains. My car was in the sec­ond half of the year and had a chain, which never needs replac­ing, sav­ing me about $300.00. The deal­er­ship, bless their hearts, washed my car for me anyway.

When I picked up my car, I met the young tech­ni­cian who worked on my car. Scott was 28 years old, per­son­able, soft spo­ken, and clearly loved his job. Okay — he was cute, too.

He used to work at a Hyundai deal­er­ship, but was caught off guard by that model year being split between chains and belts.

He’s been an auto tech­ni­cian for 8 years. I asked him if he went to school for his career and he named a well-​known tech­ni­cal col­lege. Never one to be shy, I fur­ther inquired as to the cost. Sur­pris­ingly, it was $28K for the entire course. That’s equiv­a­lent to what many peo­ple spend for one year in a 4-​year col­lege, often grad­u­at­ing with a com­pletely use­less degree, and as much as $80K to $100K in school loan debt. It’s takes a long time to pay off that kind of debt when you’re work­ing as a barista at Starbucks.

So at the age of 20 or 21, Scott was already earn­ing a very good income, while the future barista was still hav­ing the “expe­ri­ence of a life­time” in a 4-​year col­lege. In terms of salary, Scott earned about $150K, not count­ing ben­e­fits, dur­ing those 3 extra years and was doing some­thing he loved.

So why this insis­tence that every­one must go to college?

Mike Rowe, who runs the mikerowe­WORKS Foun­da­tion, awards schol­ar­ships to stu­dents pur­su­ing a career in the skilled trades. He was also the host of the for­mer TV show “Dirty Jobs”, and con­tin­ues to try rais­ing aware­ness of what we call “blue col­lar” jobs.

Just a few days ago, a per­son wrote a let­ter to Mike, derid­ing his approach to “work ethic”, call­ing it “right wing propaganda.”

Mike’s reply was epic.

A few excerpts:

You wrote that, “peo­ple want to work.” In my trav­els, I’ve met a lot of hard-​working indi­vid­u­als, and I’ve been singing their praises for the last 12 years. But I’ve seen noth­ing that would lead me to agree with your gen­er­al­iza­tion. From what I’ve seen of the species, and what I know of myself, most peo­ple – given the choice – would pre­fer NOT to work. In fact, on Dirty Jobs, I saw Help Wanted signs in every state, even at the height of the reces­sion. Is it pos­si­ble you see the exis­tence of so many unfilled jobs as a chal­lenge to your basic under­stand­ing of what makes peo­ple tick?

Last week at a pol­icy con­fer­ence in Mack­inac, I talked to sev­eral hir­ing man­agers from a few of the largest com­pa­nies in Michi­gan. They all told me the same thing – the biggest under reported chal­lenge in find­ing good help, (aside from the inabil­ity to “piss clean,”) is an over­whelm­ing lack of “soft skills.” That’s a polite way of say­ing that many appli­cants don’t tuck their shirts in, or pull their pants up, or look you in the eye, or say things like “please” and “thank you.” This is not a Michi­gan prob­lem – this is a national cri­sis. We’re churn­ing out a gen­er­a­tion of poorly edu­cated peo­ple with no skill, no ambi­tion, no guid­ance, and no real­is­tic expec­ta­tions of what it means to go to work. source

So back to my ques­tion: Why this insis­tence that every­one must go to college?

Obama would like every­one to have a free com­mu­nity col­lege edu­ca­tion, oth­er­wise known as high school grades 13 and 14. Why? And who’s going to pay for this?

High schools also base much of their suc­cess on how many of their grad­u­ates go on to col­lege. Why?

Who ben­e­fits by the stu­dent loan indus­try? Mike men­tioned the stag­ger­ing fig­ure of 1.2 tril­lion dol­lars of out­stand­ing stu­dent loans.

Our gov­ern­ment, by back­ing these loans, is not only cre­at­ing future gen­er­a­tions of debt slaves, but mak­ing the cost of col­lege skyrocket.

Don’t fall for it. If you’re a par­ent, teach your chil­dren skills that may inflame a han­ker­ing for a spe­cific trade. Don’t den­i­grate “blue col­lar trades”, because when your plumb­ing goes south, your elec­tric panel breaks, you need a new garage, or even a hair­cut, you won’t be call­ing that barista who has a degree in women’s studies.

Adri­enne blogs at Adrienne’s Cor­ner on any num­ber of sub­jects — most of which she knows noth­ing about.

it depends.

If your life-long ambition is to be a doctor, lawyer, or engineer, a college education is unavoidable.  But what if you just want to earn a decent living?

Several weeks ago, my car was at the local dealership to have its timing belt replaced – something that is done at the 60K mark.  The technician who had originally told the the service guy that my 2008 Hyundai had a belt rather than a chain discovered that the 2008 model year was split between belts and chains.  My car was in the second half of the year and had a chain, which never needs replacing,  saving me about $300.00.  The dealership, bless their hearts, washed my car for me anyway.

When I picked up my car, I met the young technician who worked on my car.  Scott was 28 years old, personable, soft spoken, and clearly loved his job. Okay – he was cute, too.

He used to work at a Hyundai dealership, but was caught off guard by that model year being split between chains and belts.

He’s been an auto technician for 8 years.  I asked him if he went to school for his career and he named a well-known technical college.  Never one to be shy, I further inquired as to the cost.  Surprisingly, it was $28K for the entire course. That’s equivalent to what many people spend for one year in a 4-year college, often graduating with a completely useless degree, and as much as $80K to $100K in school loan debt.  It’s takes a long time to pay off that kind of debt when you’re working as a barista at Starbucks.

So at the age of 20 or 21, Scott was already earning a very good income, while the future barista was still having the “experience of a lifetime” in a 4-year college.  In terms of salary, Scott earned about $150K, not counting benefits, during those 3 extra years and was doing something he loved.

So why this insistence that everyone must go to college?

Mike Rowe, who runs the mikeroweWORKS Foundation, awards scholarships to students pursuing a career in the skilled trades.  He was also the host of the former TV show “Dirty Jobs”, and continues to try raising awareness of what we call “blue collar” jobs.

Just a few days ago, a person wrote a letter to Mike, deriding his approach to “work ethic”, calling it “right wing propaganda.”

Mike’s reply was epic.

A few excerpts:

You wrote that, “people want to work.” In my travels, I’ve met a lot of hard-working individuals, and I’ve been singing their praises for the last 12 years. But I’ve seen nothing that would lead me to agree with your generalization. From what I’ve seen of the species, and what I know of myself, most people – given the choice – would prefer NOT to work. In fact, on Dirty Jobs, I saw Help Wanted signs in every state, even at the height of the recession. Is it possible you see the existence of so many unfilled jobs as a challenge to your basic understanding of what makes people tick?

Last week at a policy conference in Mackinac, I talked to several hiring managers from a few of the largest companies in Michigan. They all told me the same thing – the biggest under reported challenge in finding good help, (aside from the inability to “piss clean,”) is an overwhelming lack of “soft skills.” That’s a polite way of saying that many applicants don’t tuck their shirts in, or pull their pants up, or look you in the eye, or say things like “please” and “thank you.” This is not a Michigan problem – this is a national crisis. We’re churning out a generation of poorly educated people with no skill, no ambition, no guidance, and no realistic expectations of what it means to go to work. source

So back to my question: Why this insistence that everyone must go to college?

Obama would like everyone to have a free community college education, otherwise known as high school grades 13 and 14. Why?  And who’s going to pay for this?

High schools also base much of their success on how many of their graduates go on to college.  Why?

Who benefits by the student loan industry?  Mike mentioned the staggering figure of 1.2 trillion dollars of outstanding student loans.

Our government, by backing these loans, is not only creating future generations of debt slaves, but making the cost of college skyrocket.

Don’t fall for it.  If you’re a parent, teach your children skills that may inflame a hankering for a specific trade. Don’t denigrate “blue collar trades”, because when your plumbing goes south, your electric panel breaks,  you need a new garage, or even a haircut, you won’t be calling that barista who has a degree in women’s studies.

 

Adrienne blogs at Adrienne’s Corner on any number of subjects – most of which she knows nothing about.