We live in a world where college attendance is the driving force behind what’s considered “success.” More often than not the generation of today views high school graduation followed by college as being the only path to a stable job and financial security.
At merely 18 years of age, young adults are making the decision to spend thousands upon thousands of dollars to obtain a college degree. Unfortunately, that education doesn’t always lead to a job - let alone to a job that pays enough to reimburse student loans with staggering interest rates.
Does that mean college is not a means to an end? Of course not - it's simply not the only means to an end.
Not long ago, trade school was equally considered as a path to success. Unfortunately, trade professions are rarely pushed by educators and parents alike. College has becoming the primary focus of secondary education as well the primary focus of obtaining employment. There also seems to be an (incorrect) negative perception associated with trade school and vocational training. This perception, as well as the push for college as the only means of secondary education, is becoming quite a problem for industries relying on the now retiring Baby Boomer generation.
As an example of the inequality between the push for college and the push for trade school, when doing the research for this article, we discovered that even much of the data pertaining to employment and higher education skipped over trade school and vocational training entirely. The information found focused exclusively on obtaining a high school diploma OR a college degree at a bachelor’s level and higher. Much deeper research had to be done to obtain data that included trade school and even less was presented for vocational programs.
An article by Adecco that focuses on the demand for vocational skills and trades states that a staggering 62% of companies currently struggle to fill trade positions. As adults with multiple college degrees go on interview upon interview to be turned away, there are millions of open trades positions - yet very few people can fill them! Baby Boomers will continue to retire (despite what your Dad tells you about his hard work ethic while you Instagram your $17 avocado toast), and this percentage will only continue to increase. There will be an astounding 31 million vacant positions due to a retiring generation this year.
Stay tuned next time for a more in depth look at what can be done to bridge the gap between the retiring and graduating generations.
Until next time, we’ve enjoyed talking shop with you!