A Sustainable Workforce Starts With You

College Isn't For Everybody [VIDEO]

Construction Citizen has long been focused on presenting the skilled trades as an outstanding option for young people to consider as a career.  There are serious policy discussions now at the Texas Capitol and elsewhere about whether a blue collar track for kids should be re-emphasized in an education system that has become more and more focused on sending all students to four year institutions.

It's a nuanced argument, and I wanted to present you with real perspective from an expert who understands both sides of the debate.  So, I sat down in Washington with John Schmitt, Senior Economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, who's written extensively about what he calls “the college conundrum”.

“We have to think about what the purpose of college is,” Schmitt said.  Thirty to fifty years ago, he said, the goal of college was to put people on a path to be managers.  But, the reality is we don't need that many managers.  “What we need are people who have the kind of skills for the new economy,” Schmitt said, which can be accomplished, in many cases, through two-year degrees or apprenticeships.

Schmitt also said the process of determining the right career path starts for a child when they are as young as three.  But he warns against establishing a system in which children are “branded” as either “college-bound” or “blue collar track” then they're stuck with it.  “I think it's important that people have a chance when they're 6 or 8 or 12 or 15 to change tracks and change directions,” he said.

“College isn't for everybody,” he said, but added “I'm not in any way saying that college isn't a good idea for a lot of people.”

Watch the video below and let us know what you think in the comments.

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