Before shipping their kids off to a four-year university to earn a liberal arts degree, parents might want to consider reading a recent op-ed in the Houston Business Journal.
While there’s nothing wrong with a degree in English or communications or history, how many of us know a recent liberal arts grad who is waiting tables or delivering pizzas while trying to get that coveted white-collar job in his or her field of study?
Meanwhile, the nation will need 120,000 new mechanical and collision repair technicians each year in the coming decade – equating to 1.2 million new technicians by 2026, according to data cited by Darrin Brust, campus president of Universal Technical Institute in Houston.
But because many parents, guidance counselors and high school administrators have a negative perception of the skilled trades, kids often don’t hear about these opportunities.
“Commonly, young adults are steered away from vocational careers based on faulty perceptions about what it means to work in a skilled trade,” even though a recent analysis concludes that “students who get an industry-aligned, quality postsecondary technical education are earning more, on average, after 10 years than their peers from some of the nation’s liberal arts colleges and two-year community colleges,” Brust says in the Houston Business Journal.
In a troubling trend, high schools increasingly are banning technical schools from their campuses, Brust points out.
“When that happens, teachers and counselors are left with fewer options for students who want to build successful, life-long careers in the skilled trades,” he adds.
Here’s the bottom line: “When we accept as truth that a college degree is the only way to get ahead and overlook the gifts, talents and significant contributions of students who can succeed in other industries, we do them an enormous disservice,” Brust says.
For more, read “Op-Ed: Technical Schools Offer Strong Alternative to 4-Year Degree” in the Houston Business Journal.