College for Everyone?

Maybe not.  I’ve written about the question of college for everyone elsewhere.

A report on a different subject, The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America, posted at Knot Yet, has this in its “Conclusions and Implications:”

2 – How do we improve the job prospects for young adults who will not get a college degree but are willing and able to receive vocational training?
Surely improving the economy overall will help young adults without college degrees, as a rising tide lifts many boats, but how can these young adults be better prepared to enter the labor market even when the economy isn’t booming?  Even during recessions, there are decent jobs that go unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants.  How can education and industry leaders work together more closely to target high-demand occupations that pay good salaries and formalize pathways into jobs in these sectors?  Countries like Austria, Germany, and the United Kingdom are achieving good success with vocational training, apprenticeship programs and placements for their young adults in industries as varied as nursing, information technology, and advanced manufacturing.  There certainly seems to be untapped potential for the United States to follow in their footsteps….

The Urban Institute‘s report, “Expanding Apprenticeship: A Way to Enhance Skills and Careers,” identified in a footnote to the above quote, points out that apprenticing—a natural extension of VoTech training (and given the modern responsibilities of office occupations—these aren’t your grandmother’s secretarial jobs—to Office Occupations training, also)—offers significant economic benefits to non-college graduate graduates (using middle-skill jobs as the baseline):

Looking at earnings impacts during the first 2.5 years after exiting [an apprenticeship] program, [Kevin Hollenbeck] estimated that the net social benefits to apprenticeship were about $50,000 per apprentice, far more than minimal gains accruing to community college students and WIA trainees.  In other words, it takes little time for a significant payoff to apprenticeship training to accrue to the worker and society at large.  On a lifetime basis, Hollenbeck projects the present value of earnings gains less costs at $269,000 per apprentice, compared to $96,000-$123,000 per community college attendee, and about $40,000 per WIA trainee.

We need to bring the VoTech and OO programs—updated to today’s technologies and business needs—back into our high schools, including public, private, parochial, charter, and make all of these programs voucher-accessible to the extent the programs are not already.

The UI report is well worth reading in its entirety, as is the Knot Yet report for its separate, main subject.

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  1. Pingback: College? | A Plebe's Site

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