College Isn’t for Everyone, Revisited

I touched on this a while ago. Here’s another look.

Dakota Blazier had made a big decision. Friendly and fresh-faced, from a small town north of Indianapolis, he’d made up his mind: he wasn’t going to college.

“I discovered a long time ago,” he explained, “I’m not book smart. I don’t like sitting still, and I learn better when the problem is practical.” But he didn’t feel this limited his options—to the contrary. And he was executing a plan as purposeful as that of any of his high-school peers.

The questions that keep him up at night aren’t about inequality: how rich am I, or, how rich is my neighbor? What he worries about is the kinds of opportunities open to him. Can he get an education that equips him for a job he wants? Can he find that job and build on it to make a career? His concern is economic mobility.

Indeed, there are lots of opportunities—good opportunities. Tamar Jacoby, in the WSJ article linked above, outlined three requirements for these opportunities actually to be opportunities, and paths like Blazier’s meet those requirements [emphasis added].

The first requirement of any upward path is entry ramps at the ground level. The Craft Training Center of the Coastal Bend, in Corpus Christi, Texas [for instance], teaches welding to 200 high-school students, mostly at-risk youth.

The second requirement of any good upward path is for training to lead to a job. [Anthony, 19 years old] Solis’s big break came last August, when he and 20 other Coastal Bend students auditioned for JV Industrial, which does high-risk, high-paying maintenance work in oil refineries. JV had never recruited at the Corpus Christi center, and Mr Solis was so nervous that he was almost ill on the day of the hands-on test. Still, he made the grade and headed off to Houston for more free training—with the possibility of a big job if he finished.

A third requirement of a good career path is that it must be aligned with economic needs. This is where employers like JV can make all the difference.

Indeed. RTWT, as they say.

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  1. Pingback: Colleges, Again | A Plebe's Site

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