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Author Topic: More college-educated jump tracks to become skilled manual laborers
philnotfil
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Good.

washingtonpost.com

quote:
In a region in which 47 percent of Washington area residents have a college degree, the highest rate in the nation, Osielski is among a small but apparently growing number of the college-educated who are taking up the trades.

They started out studying aerospace engineering, creative writing and urban planning. But somewhere on the path to accumulating academic credentials, they decided that working with their hands sounded more pleasant -- and lucrative -- than a lot of white-collar work. So bye-bye to term papers and graduate theses, and hello to apprenticeships to become plumbers, electricians, auto mechanics and carpenters.

quote:
Economists and labor scholars say the rocky economy has been a boon for trade schools. But they also point to policymakers, guidance counselors and parents who don't value the trades and overvalue college as the gateway to success. As a result, American students come to trade apprenticeships relatively late, often after they've already tried college. The average age of the beginning apprentice in the United States is 25; in Germany, 18.

"It's hard to get high school counselors to point anyone but their not-very-good students, or the ones in trouble, toward construction," said Dale Belman, a labor economist at Michigan State University. "Counselors want everyone to go to college. So now we're getting more of the college-educated going into the trades."


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msquared
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My guess is that those who come later may also do better in the trades due to the broad exposure to things in college. I agree that too many high school counselors want every one to go to college. A good HVAC guy who runs his own business can make really good money.

msquared

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Pyrtolin
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The only real shame is that they can't get some degree of debt forgiveness on student loans they took out before changing directions; offering that might help more people realize that they can be a little more flexible about their options rather than having to push to make it feel like their investment was worth it.
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G2
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Why don't you offer to make some of their payments for them?

[ June 16, 2010, 01:04 PM: Message edited by: G2 ]

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Pyrtolin
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I do my best to at the ballot box, since evening such costs out is part of the point of having a society and government in the first place.
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G2
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Yeah, that's about what G2 thought. You want to spend someone else's money ...
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Pyrtolin
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No, I want to out our collective wealth to economically beneficial use.
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LetterRip
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Picking a major with inadequate job prospects doesn't seem like it should be subsidized.
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Pyrtolin
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The prospects that exist when one begins school are often vastly different than those that exist when one is done. And that's not even getting into discovering that your talents and interests lie elsewhere once you've already made a significant investment in a wrong path.

This is pretty much the textbook example of making people wager their financial future on a choice that they don't yet have enough experience to properly make.

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JWatts
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You certainly don't have to go into debt to get a college degree. You do have to be serious about it and pick low cost options, save up first, hunt for the scholarships, live with your parents, go to a community college your first year or two, work 20 hours a week, 60 a week during the summer and on breaks, etc.

But none of that's fun or easy. It's much more fun to take the easy to get student loans and credit cards and have some fun, party on the weekends, live in the frat house. It's even easier to major in hackie-sack with a minor in lit, poli-sci or business.

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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by LetterRip:
Picking a major with inadequate job prospects doesn't seem like it should be subsidized.

Exactly. For example, a recent news story (and G2 can't seem to google it up) treated us to a young woman that gotten her bachelor's degree in psychology from LSU. She had about $80,000 in student loans. She wanted that $80K forgiven, felt it was something society should do for her. Once it was forgiven, her intent was to go to graduate school - really, you need at least a master's degree in psychology to work in that field. Of course, she would need even more loans to do that graduate work ...
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
No, I want to out our collective wealth to economically beneficial use.

No, you want someone else's collective wealth to be put to, what is in your limited opinion, economically beneficial use. As you've just shown, there's is no Pyrtolin in this "our" of which you speak.
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
No, I want to out our collective wealth to economically beneficial use.

No, you want someone else's collective wealth to be put to, what is in your limited opinion, economically beneficial use. As you've just shown, there's is no Pyrtolin in this "our" of which you speak.
I'm perfectly fin with excluding anyone who is not profiting from our shared economic system from having to pay the price that it takes to maintain and increase that profitability. You don't get to cash out your chips here just because you've come out ahead of the game.
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aupton15
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quote:
Exactly. For example, a recent news story (and G2 can't seem to google it up) treated us to a young woman that gotten her bachelor's degree in psychology from LSU. She had about $80,000 in student loans. She wanted that $80K forgiven, felt it was something society should do for her. Once it was forgiven, her intent was to go to graduate school - really, you need at least a master's degree in psychology to work in that field. Of course, she would need even more loans to do that graduate work ...
G2, I don't think that is necessarily a good example of a major with inadequate job prospects. However, I think it does serve as an example of what JWatts was saying. There are cheaper ways to prepare for grad school, and a wise student would probably not take out $80,000 in loans when additional schooling (and possibly additional loans) will be necessary. I managed to make it through grad school with less than half of that debt in large part because of the place I chose to go for undergrad (knowing that the graduate education would be more important). Still, loan forgiveness programs in psychology, which usually hinge on providing services in underserved areas, are a pretty good idea that benefit everyone involved.

Edited to add: I don't mean to imply by any stretch that I think a debt of $80,000 should simply be wiped off the slate for nothing, especially if it is just to go back to school. In this case I'd suggest she keep going through school and then take a job in rural America for a few years to help pay it off.

[ June 21, 2010, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: aupton15 ]

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OpsanusTau
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quote:
You certainly don't have to go into debt to get a college degree. You do have to be serious about it and pick low cost options, save up first, hunt for the scholarships, live with your parents, go to a community college your first year or two, work 20 hours a week, 60 a week during the summer and on breaks, etc.

This is perhaps another incidence of upper-class myopia and 20/20 hindsight. Being able to save up first, being able to live with your parents, having a community college that's worth going to in your area - these are things that not everybody has.

Moreover, it's easy to say that kids should know better than to go into debt to fund their education. But in point of fact, often every reliable source of advice a high school senior has is telling him or her that going to college is the best way to make a good living later, that the debt is acceptable because of increased future earnings.
If the people who are in authority over you and whom you trust - your parents, your counselors, your whole society - tells you things that flat aren't true, do you really need to be punished five or six years later when you try to fix the mistakes you made because you believed them?

(I say this, by the way, as someone who was not lied to in this way, and who by great good luck got an excellent undergraduate degree with minimal debt.)

Besides, our society needs skilled laborers way more than we need another useless schmuck with a degree in economics or literature or history from Podunk State. We, society, were the ones who started telling kids that college is the Way To Go; this was dumb, and we deserve what we get if we have to pay some money to turn those useless degrees into the skilled labor we badly need.

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Pete at Home
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I picked up blinding and crippling student loans, partly because of misinformation about the possibilities in my first chosen career, but not sure I'd feel comfortable dropping my error on the taxpayer. Yeah, I was duped and cheated out of big bucks and years of my life. But am I less responsible for that than Joe taxpayer?
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Pyrtolin
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quote:
Originally posted by Pete at Home:
I picked up blinding and crippling student loans, partly because of misinformation about the possibilities in my first chosen career, but not sure I'd feel comfortable dropping my error on the taxpayer. Yeah, I was duped and cheated out of big bucks and years of my life. But am I less responsible for that than Joe taxpayer?

If the upshot is that you make produce enough more over your lifetime to pay off the difference, are you really dumping it on Joe tax payer, or is Joe just paying back a similar debt on his part for what it cost to get his feet on the ground?
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Pete at Home
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If I pay it off, then I've fulfilled my duty.
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
quote:
You certainly don't have to go into debt to get a college degree. You do have to be serious about it and pick low cost options, save up first, hunt for the scholarships, live with your parents, go to a community college your first year or two, work 20 hours a week, 60 a week during the summer and on breaks, etc.

This is perhaps another incidence of upper-class myopia and 20/20 hindsight. Being able to save up first, being able to live with your parents, having a community college that's worth going to in your area - these are things that not everybody has.
So because not everybody has it everyone should get a bail out? Everyone has choices to make. Anyone can go to college if they want and they can do it with little or no debt. Grants, scholarships, part time school while working, GI Bill, roommates to share cost, more than a few of these can be gotten by anyone that wants it. Sure, it may take a little longer but that's part of the choices we have to make.

quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Moreover, it's easy to say that kids should know better than to go into debt to fund their education. But in point of fact, often every reliable source of advice a high school senior has is telling him or her that going to college is the best way to make a good living later, that the debt is acceptable because of increased future earnings.
If the people who are in authority over you and whom you trust - your parents, your counselors, your whole society - tells you things that flat aren't true, do you really need to be punished five or six years later when you try to fix the mistakes you made because you believed them?

Yeah, it's called personal responsibility. Telling someone that getting a degree and taking on debt to do it is a good idea is true - look at the average salaries for degreed professionals. Taking that advice to rack up $80K in debt for a liberal arts degree that leads to little more than a minimum wage job is not a good idea. There is a difference between these two and college students know it.


quote:
Originally posted by OpsanusTau:
Besides, our society needs skilled laborers way more than we need another useless schmuck with a degree in economics or literature or history from Podunk State. We, society, were the ones who started telling kids that college is the Way To Go; this was dumb, and we deserve what we get if we have to pay some money to turn those useless degrees into the skilled labor we badly need.

Do you have kids? Want do you want them to be? A white collar professional or a blue collar hourly wage slave? They may make a good loving in the latter but what do the odds tell us will be more successful/lucrative path?
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G2
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quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
quote:
Originally posted by G2:
quote:
Originally posted by Pyrtolin:
No, I want to out our collective wealth to economically beneficial use.

No, you want someone else's collective wealth to be put to, what is in your limited opinion, economically beneficial use. As you've just shown, there's is no Pyrtolin in this "our" of which you speak.
I'm perfectly fin with excluding anyone who is not profiting from our shared economic system from having to pay the price that it takes to maintain and increase that profitability. You don't get to cash out your chips here just because you've come out ahead of the game.
As you've shown, you're excluding yourself from paying. You think the game will be rigged where only those *you* define as having "come out ahead of the game" will pay. You couch all this in a collectivist framework because you believe you won't have to pay.
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msquared
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G2

There are other options besides white collar working and factory wage slave.

How about a plumber who owns his own shop? The local mechanic? The guy who runs his own HVAC business? All of these jobs require technical skill but are not white collar. And all can make good money.

msquared

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JWatts
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"Factory wage slave" is not a phrase relevant to many/any American factory workers. It's the kind of terminology used by someone that has never worked in a factory and really has no idea about the issue.
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kenmeer livermaile
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Yeesh, JW.
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