College obviously isn’t for everyone. Sometimes, I’m not sure if its really for anyone other than the student loan lenders, professors, and other direct financial beneficiaries. Obviously education is important, but a lot of students get distracted by classes and course requirements that are explicitly related to the goals and skills the student actually wants to learn.
Of course history is important, but does everyone need 9 credits in order to write computer programs? Does a Journalism or Communications student need calculus or pre-calc in order to write up a public relations campaign?
There’s obviously a need for people to have well-balanced degrees and wide ranges of knowledge – but college isn’t always the best way to accomplish it. Especially these days, because employers are looking for very specific skills more than ever. Where a liberal arts degree may have been good enough to get in to a new career, employers these days want to know if you’re specialized in IT or management or whatever it may be…
Unfortunately, our high schools don’t prepare students well for any technical jobs. Even professors constantly complain that freshman aren’t ready for college level work – and employers realize that their new just-out-of-high-school workers have few specific skills or technical talents.
Anyway, my friend is about six months in to a seven month program at Tulsa Welding School. Talk about a lot of focused and specialized learning in a short period of time!
He’s always been interested in welding, but its tough to get a start these days. Apprentice-like jobs are hard to come by as the employment market breaks down, and managers on job sites just don’t have time to play teacher to new workers.
Yet after just a few months of studying at a focused and fast-paced school, he’s now in a position where local businesses are starting to take his applications seriously. Even without the certificate of completion, the same hiring managers are suddenly much more willing to consider.
Hopefully, more technical and vocational programs will be included in future high school curriculums. Not everyone is headed to college, and its silly to think they will if you deny them other marketable skills. We’ve got an employment mess and an education mess in this country at the same time – so its a perfect chance to fix them both at once.