Ehh, I don't agree with the TC's premise that college should be made less accessible, but clearly not everyone is cut out for college, even if they do go. Instead we need to better promote trade schools as a viable alternative. This country is facing, in many areas, a shortage of skilled trade laborers who do essential, but hard and unglamourous work. Plumbers, for example, are indespensible in our society, but no one wants to do the work anymore. They're too good to get their hands dirty. Everyone wants to go to college and become a lawyer, a businessman, or a liberal arts major. All three this country has an overabundance of.
Everybody has their own situation. College isn't for everybody but it's not a bad idea to have them go anyway. I wouldn't use the excuse "we need people not to go because of labor" because you have plenty of college and high school kids who can work in those jobs until they get their degrees. The degree makes you more competitive. But yes, OP, I know plenty of people without degrees that make a decent living. I don't have my degree (yet) but I make about $70,000 a year in my current job. I know of plenty of truck drivers who make over $50,000 a year and some who make close to six figures. Then you have people who get lucky and make a ton of money for being in the right place in the right time. Then you look at people like teachers who do a hard job that requires a four year degree and make less than $40,000 a year. Or, you have people who end up taking over a hundred thousand dollars in loans to get a higher degree so they can get a job that gives the big bucks.
People need to realise that college by itself can be useless. However, it's a big stepping stone for most corporate jobs. You can walk into a lot of jobs with your degree and they may push you to the end of the line because you don't have experience to back it up. It's kind of like the credit paradox, you can't get credit until you build a solid credit history but you can't build a solid credit history when you have people denying you left and right for a lack of history. Which requires you to find alternative ways to build credit such as prepaid cards. But without a degree they might not even be allowed to apply at all.I'm taking my time on my degree because by the time I leave the military I'll have a degree and leadership experience to go with it versus having only a degree and four years of partying in college to present to an employer. There are plenty of ways out there somebody can make themselves look more marketable. But without the degree they're pretty much lowering their appeal no matter what they did in the past.
Both of you touch on something that is true. Trades. We are losing people who work at such jobs in droves, but the irony is, as pointed out, can earn big money. Boilermakers, millwrights, pipefitters, ironworkersall make big money and in some cases, only work 6-9 months out of the year, for 6 figures or more. I work 8-9 months a year and make close to $50,000 as a nondestructive testing technician for an engineering firm, without a college degree (the company I work forwill even train you). Granted, you might have to travel to make such money, but per diem can add up to big money if you put it aside instead of spending it by partying every night (working 12 hours a day means I just want to sleep when I get off work). Now, having a college degree will help out at the company I work for (it needs to be in engineering or chemistry or something like that), but not needed as a tech really.
One day, people will need something fixed, and instead of being able to get it fixed, it will have to be thrown away or cost a small fortune to get it fixed. Imagine how much it will cost to get your car fixed if only new car dealers are the only ones aroumd to fix your car and no independent mechanics. As mentioned, no one wants to be a plumber. Many of the places the company I work for go to only want people there that can speak and understand English. Illegal immigrants will not be able to go to these companies, even as a contractor. The need to know and understand what needs to be done in an emergency is important, your life depends on being able to understand instructions and they do not issue those in Spanish or any other language.
Going to a trade school and learning a trade isn't as bad as some think it is. Good money to be had if you get into the right company.
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