Skip to comments.If not college, then what? (What's the alternative if going into tuition debt is too burdensome?)
Posted on 08/12/2011 7:46:43 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
At dinner tables throughout the United States, there are tough conversations about the exploding cost of college, the rough job market, the pain of debt.
For parents and students, it adds up to the same question: Is college worth it?
But American University economics Professor Robert Lerman is asking something different: If college isn't worth it, what else is out there?
Lerman, an Urban Institute fellow, has studied youth unemployment for decades, and thinks the United States ought to try an updated version of an old technique for education and employment: apprenticeships.
They're not the same as an after-school fast food job or a summer internship at dad's office, he said. Apprenticeships require skill development in a workplace over a number of years. The education, which might be supplemented by classroom training, leads to a credential -- maybe a title, certification or diploma -- that proves mastery of a skill. During that time, apprentices are paid, and employers are getting another worker.
"In many countries, apprenticeship training and mastery is thought of as a big advantage in innovation -- you have people seeing things, but have skills to understand them, make adjustments and achieve high quality," Lerman said.
It's been a long time since apprenticeship dominated in the United States. Despite the Obama administration's focus on community colleges, which often house workplace-learning programs, apprenticeship programs draw few government resources, and reach relatively few fields, mostly construction and manufacturing.
In a paper published last year, Lerman said about 468,000 people were in 27,000 apprenticeship programs registered with the U.S. Department of Labor in 2008. That was about .3% of the workforce at the time.
Up to 1 million more were in unregistered programs, the report said.
(Excerpt) Read more at edition.cnn.com ...
In Switzerland, Austria and Germany, 50% to 70% of young people are trained through apprentice programs, according to "Training Tomorrow's Workforce."
Community colleges - learn a trade that won’t be outsourced.
Go to a local Community Collage and get into Electrical, Plumbing, Diesel Mechanics or ANY of the Trades and you will NEVER be out of work.
Maybe working your way through college is an option like I did. Can’t do it in four years but then again, patience is a virtue. Oh wait a minute! Working? Maybe that doesn’t work today. Sorry, I lost my head for a minute.
What they are not telling people is that financial aid for tuition is getting harder to get. I need money to finish out my degree but I can’t get it.
Going in to 'regular' debt...
Apprenticeship is the only option if you plan to become a Bater.
The idea of college has become so ingrained among middle class people that apprenticeships are a tough sell.
Most middle class people want their kids to have a job where they sit in an office and work on a computer. Many think it’s a step down to work in a “blue collar” type of trade.
Today, with so many graduating college with so much debt, and not being able to get a good paying job, maybe attitudes will change. Why go thousands into debt to go to college, when you will end up working at a job which you could have gotten without college?
Anecdotal evidence is that lots of college graduates work at Target and Barnes and Noble and other retailers.
Many may have majored in subjects which don’t translate into jobs. Majoring in women’s studies won’t qualify you for a job after college. Majoring in many fields does not translate into a professional career after college.
Maybe young people need better information about which college degrees DO qualify you for some entry level positions afterward. Or better information about whether college is appropriate for them, based on what they want to do in life.
The want ads around here are packed with companies looking for drivers with a CDL and heavy equipment operators. HVAC and electrician skills also seem in fairly high demand.
This was exactly how Calvin Coolidge earned his license to practice law and eventually run for elective office which would take him all the way to the presidency.
Grover Cleveland never set foot in a college classroom as a student and would make most people's list of ten best presidents. Ditto for Lincoln, who was largely self-taught.
Teach a person to read and reason, use their hands as well at their brains, foster an environment in which they have opportunity to hire out the skills thus developed and you will create the next generation of Franklins, Lincolns and Clevelands.
As a side benefit, you might also create the next generation of universities which actually foster those skills rather than retard them with the politically correct garbage which has taken over so many fields today.
Better to be able to do stuff than just know stuff that isn’t true.
Seems like going to college is a mandate for success. Problem is more and more 30+ year old students living on the dole, avoiding growing up and contributing to society.
Everyone can’t and won’t be Steve Jobs or Bill Gates.
the whole idea of apprenticeships is a good one. I know people in industries of all sorts who need welders, electricians, carpenters, machiners, etc... but don't hire or try to outsource simply because they can't find people with skills or more importantly - people who will show up for work!
Are community colleges the answer? Possibly. Some are good, but many have the same brainwashed leftist faculty teaching many of the same useless courses regular universities teach.
Hair school is another option. Takes about a year. Usually after about another six months apprenticeship you can make good money.
True, my husband has a college degree, but has been a mechanic his whole life. In fact, that is how he put himself through college.
He is making a little less in this economy, but he still has a job that pays our bills.
Our next door neighbor is an attorney, and lost his job almost a year ago. He is doing lawn work now. He said that he wished he learned a trade or bought a business with all the money he blew on college.
I still believe in college. However, it's important to have a back up plan.
It took me an embarrassingly long time to finish my undergraduate engineering degree, and my grades were mediocre at best. But ten years after I finished high school I had both my bachelor's and master's degrees in civil engineering, passed both rounds of my state licensing exams on the first attempts, and enough "people skills" from my various low-level service industry jobs to make myself right at home among rural American farmers and Wall Street investment bankers alike.
Long story short, after four years now he is one of the best locksmiths in our area and in demand.
He just loves the job and looks forward to a challenge every day.
He has said he will never be a millionaire but he will always have a decent pay and job.
Proud of him.
There was an interesting story in a shipping industry trade publication about some problems they’re having at one of the big East Coast ports. They are dealing with lower productivity in recent months because the ILA union can’t find enough qualified technicians to keep the lift and hauling equipment at the port maintained in good working order.
Spend $100,000 on student loans or $30,000 on a small business loan and go for it.
The local mines in the area offer employee's high school graduates full scholarships in these area's at the local community college. They also hire them on part-time for on the job training. It's a great deal. My son is on his second year scholarship for electrical.
My neighbor's son is taking his newly minted engineering degree and working for a construction company. Last night I saw the steel toed boots line up in the garage. He will be working on construction sites. His parents are VERY proud of him and happy he will do something he loves. They are fairly well off, but understand that their kids have strengths that might not lead to a typical or office job (perhaps that's why they do so well).
Maybe young people need better information about which college degrees DO qualify you for some entry level positions afterward.
The information is out there at a lot of schools. A good school will let you know who is employing their grads, especially locally and regionally, how many go on to grad school, and the internships offered to their students. The problem is that this is often ignored.
Oh, so correct. I was trained from age 10 (that’s right..age ten) to be a watchmaker...the third generation of the family.
66 years later I still cannot keep pace with the demand. I get calls and e-mail from across the USA regarding watches that cannot be repaired locally.
I refuse to work more than 48 hours a week, so I turn down many watches.
In 2011, there are too many laws and bureaucrats that keep me from taking on an apprentice, such as I was.
I have merely a High School diploma AND a trade that has supported me for a lifetime.
Just curious, why would people want to repair their watches when they can buy watches cheaply everywhere?
I minored in studying women in college. Not much for job prospects, but the homework was fun.
Personally, I like to get dirty & at the end of the day, I’m dirty smelly & soaking wet. I do HVAC north of Houston in God’s country. I tell my customers & others, if your HVAC tech is showing up all clean, he’s not fixing anything, he’s selling new systems. My motto is, “I love to fix what others wish to replace.” My customers trust me implicitely because they know I carry thousands in parts and 95% of the time I have their part plus, I’ve been doing this for almost 40 yrs. When it’s hot like it has been my phone rings like crazy plus my customers know, I’ll respond immediately or if on a call they know they are next.
Trust me, I could make way more money than most college grads but the fact is this #1 I’m 55yrs old & I do not install attic units in the summer due both to my age & I can’t ethically pay an installer the going rate of $200 for an attic install especially since I personally would never do it in the summer for even 10 times that amount.
Lone Star Com College has an outstanding HVAC program but the contractors simply pay too little for apprentices. #2 I could surely grow my business easily but it’s so much easier for me to only worry about myself. If I did have employees I’d be worried about Obamacare & my requirements.
If you think education is expensive, you should try ignorance.
A good janitor is much more valuable than a poor surgeon. Think about it.
One more gripe, Let's get away from all these "professional" titles and ranks. A dentist should be called a dentist, not doctor. A Chiropractor should be called a chiropractor, not doctor. It is silly to put "esquire" after an attorney's name. Once you have served your term you are no longer a senator, congressman, judge, ambassador etc., and should not be called by these titles. It is pretentious and downright silly.
I spent many years in the martial arts and my instructor in Okinawa decried the use of "belts". He believed everyone who trained was "bushi" or warrior, no other differentiation was necessary. Everyone knew who had trained harder and longer by the obvious results. No "black belts" should be necessary, although as director of one of the larger organizations, he went along with the modern use of black belts.
I guess the point is, life should be thought of more like a foxhole during a battle. You don't give a damn about the rank or title or economic status of the guy next to you, you are only concerned about how well he will do his job.
Until I retired, I owned a computer store and a computer networking business. College grads were absolutely worthless. I was actually embarrassed for them. The best employee I ever had was a young man who learned because he was interested and searched out every source he could to learn about computers. He was 13 when he first came into the store and started to just hang around the back room with us. Even at that age he put every college grad that came in to apply to shame.
I suspect the watch needing repair is not a watch you can buy anywhere...after a few decades a mechanical watch may need some maintenance, or a person might want to replace the glass, or spring, or something. There are millions of heirloom timepieces around, would you toss a 100-year-old watch in favor of cheap digital nonsense? You might be throwing away a part of your family heritage! a friend has a clock that’s been with his family for generations (it’s at least 200 years old), he takes it to the watchmaker every year to make sure it stays functional.
When a thread comes up like this I usually post our experience, because it is possible to do “college” tuition free.
A few caveats...you must live in an area with colleges (we have a State U, several community colleges, and several private universities within about a 40 mile commute.) The kid must be willing to live at home so you don’t have to spend money on room and board (so give up “the college experience” whatever that is.) We didn’t figure out how to avoid the costs of books and gas, but those were the only costs. Here’s how our son did it.
Start Dual Credit in 10th grade at the community college. They have to test into College Alg and Comp I, so do what you have to do before 10th grade to prepare them to meet those qualifications. Tuition free, and by 12th grade you have an AA and a High school diploma.
We used a merit based program for the bachelor’s degree, so the kid has to study hard and do well on SAT’s and maintain a good grade point plus community service in order to qualify. It pays tuition at a State University for the Bachelor’s. So BA is tuition free (cost of gas was more for this degree because the commute was 35 miles each way.)
Grad school...score well on the GMAT and you can be offered a job as a TA, which means you give 20 hours a week to a help a prof, and the school (this time it was a private university) covers your tuition for Grad School, plus a small stipend. Another longer commute, about 20 miles one way.
Another big advantage, you get out early, if you can stay motivated and work hard. AA age 17/18, Bachelor’s age 19/20, and grad degree age 21/22.
The hardest part was the final semester of grad school because it involved 3 days a week as an intern at a company (good thing was of a job upon graduation), 2 days a week as a TA, 3 nights a week (3 hour classes) of grad classes, not to mention weekends being filled with homework, group projects, test studying, and social life that could be fit in.
We picked up car costs, gas, and the cost of books (during grad school his stipend covered the books.) We just kept telling him he’d be glad if he perservered, I don’t think he always believed us, but now, looking back from a couple years down the road, degrees in hand, married to a wonderful girl and a great job w/out a lot of money struggles because of college debt, he’s a happy guy.
The economy needs more productive citizens like your son. I mean, Starbucks can’t hire every college graduate.
the Marcellus Shale Gas drillers in my area are absolutely desperate for welders, mechanics, heavy machine operators, drilling techs, etc. Provided the EPA doesn’t shut it all down.
Is this New York bordering Pennsylvania? I heard that fracking has finally been approved, when is drilling going to start?
Something you could buy for a few bucks anywhere certainly gets tossed. However...
Yesterday I finished overhauling a watch YOU would throw out..old beat up looking Hamilton from 1938. A family treasure.. because..
The watch jumped into Normandy on D-Day with its owner. BOTH wounded at Bastogne (owner shrapnet...watch busted crystal)
It went with the owner from the Pusan Perimeter to the 38th parallel. In the 1960’s the watch was worn to Vietnam by the son of the original owner. Another generation wore the watch to Desert Storm. Last month the watch came home safely from Afghanistan and then to me for service.
These are the millions of watches, each with a deep history with an individual or generations of a single family.
Everyone moans about crushing debt and dismal job prospects, but no one wants to talk about the core reason for all this misery: YOUR KID SHOULDN’T GO TO COLLEGE.
Unless your kid has demonstrated a capacity to handle higher mathematics and science, he’s got no business in college. 90 percent of undergrads don’t.
I don’t care if some teacher deemed your kid “gifted.” I don’t care that he plays a wicked guitar or she makes witty remarks. And sports scholarships? If you’re NFL or NBA bound, you should skip college — they’re ripping you off.
Only professionals (doctors, engineers, particle physicists, pharmacists, military officers) need higher education. If you like to read and write about Mark Twain and Marcus Aurelius, go do it when you finish your daily course at the vocational school where you’re learning to make pastry.
Of course, rich people will always find a way to get Junior into Yale (hi, John Kerry and George Bush!). But you’re not rich. You’re middle class, and the middle class is not training replacements for itself. Try getting a plumber for this afternoon. That is why the middle class is disappearing.
We’d rather be poor in cheap ties sitting in cubicles churning e-mail all day — on machines we can’t even give a thumbnail sketch of how they work — than wear Dickies and rewire an electrical box.
Our universities — including the Ivy League — are “training” orchestras composed of ushers, ticket-takers, and stage sweepers instead of people who can actually play the violin.
You just made me smile and be proud of our country. For both the journey of the watch and the passion you show for respecting time.
God Bless and Thank You
It should be possible to smoke dope, get laid, and study Marxism without the big bills...