Emphasis on Usefulness, or statistics?
PRELUDE: To whom it may concern, Mr. or Madam President, congratulations on winning the general election, and may you make your time in office useful and productive to the American people whom you serve.. My name is Robert McKenna, son of Scott and Laurie McKenna. My father has a 2 year degree as an electrical mechanic and has worked on everything from the insides of a boeing 747 during his time as an electrician at United Airlines, to opening up a hospital in Loveland. My mother served in the United States Navy from 1984-1989, before she was honorably discharged. Both have taught me that nothing in this world is free and that hard work will get rewards. I am studying at our Career center for CNC Computer Aided Design and Computer Aided Machinery, and I plan on attending a 4 year college for CAD/CAM machining and precision millworking, engineering.
During the over 1 year campaigning for both the nomination as well as the general election, you have countlessly mentioned your stance on college; whether it should be “affordable”, free to those who make a certain amount of money, or if we should simply make college a more available option to middle class students, minorities or otherwise. However one
thing that has not been mentioned to the knowledge of myself or many of my classmates - all of whom are very involved in the events and news that has been following your campaign for so long, is the possible option of making trade schools and vocational colleges more available for those who want to pursue a career in industry. Many fields are in terrible need of young, skilled, hands on workers who are eager to work, an idea that has all but become lost in our society of computers and automation.
The mentality that has been beaten into me day after day since elementary school, the mentality that you HAVE to go to college and you HAVE to get a bachelor's degree in order to make it in this day and age, has gotten old. I have quite honestly grown exasperated by having flags, pamphlets, and booklets pushed into my hands by college reps from all over the nation. I do intend to go to a 4 year college and get an education, however my mother, who served in the united states Navy as a Seabee construction worker says time and time again, “(College) degrees are becoming more and more like High School diplomas, everybody has them!”. And statistically speaking, they have.
Studies done by the United States Census Bureau have shown that as recently as 2015, more than 33.7% of Americans age 25+ have a bachelor's degree, and 12.7% have a Master’s or higher. That's almost 50% of Americans that have an education higher than a High school Diploma. While this may seem fantastic at a glance, when you take a look at the estimations of who will have a bachelor's degree by 2020, nearly 68% of millennials will have a 4 year degree in a general field of science, math, or literature. Yet, when you look at the percentage of Americans who have a degree from a vocational school or trade schools, the contrast is
staggering. Less than 30% of Americans either know a specific skill or have gone to school for a trade. Out of that percentage, those who do go to school for a trade, and attempt to further their education at a 4 year academic college, are turned down because their vocational degree is not recognized as a “real” degree,
What is an incredible contradiction to the claim that a trade degree isn't “real” in terms of earnings. The median salary for an electrical foreman in the United states is $70,000 a year, compared to the salary of someone with a degree in english; less than $50,000 a year. That's a staggering $20,000 extra. Not to mention that the maximum cost of electricians school is $22,000 over their entire schooling; that is what a freshman at a state college will pay their first year. If that isn't convincing enough, a plumber who works at a commercial construction site, will make $22.58 an hour. The median pay for a person with a bachelor's degree in computer science will make $26.50 an hour; keeping in mind that the job site plumber has little college debt, while the computer science bachelor will have approx.$116,000 to pay off for his/her college degree.
With these facts presented, the question is, why haven't we as a nation put more emphasis on my generation pursuing a career of skills and trades? Every part of industry, from Seamstress’ to underwater welders to precision CNC machinists, are in need to workers that aren't there. Some businesses have even resorted to having students sign contracts saying that the company will pay for their education if they come work for them, while millennials with 4 year degrees are complaining that they are in debt because the only thing they have to show for their stupendous amount of student debt is a degree in a general field. Part of the demand for
more public assistance are those who don't have a skill; or they have a higher education that isn't needed; and it has taken a toll on the US economy. My suggestion; make vocational universities and trade schools as important as liberal arts degrees and help students understand that “you don't need a degree to have a career”.
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