Welcome Reminder

…that among the larger paradigm shifts of recent years, the “go to college after high school” mantra has been largely debunked in favor of going to a trade school:

More than a million students have held off from going to college since the pandemic problems arose, and many of those students are seeking training in the trades instead. Their skills are in high demand, too, as nearly 90 percent of contractors are desperate for competent workers.

I said this back in 2008.  And no, it’s not just for boys.


After all, it’s not like this is some new thing, either:


  1. Fully agree with the trade school over college route for most young people. But every time I see a pic with women doing work, I instantly think publicity shot. The black and white pic? They aren’t in a position to put enough force on the drill. I’m betting the photog handed them the tools and told them where to stand. Two of the top three pics, too clean and too staged. Only the one chick with the banged up hard hat and dirty clothes looks real.

    Don’t get me wrong, I know girls can do that sort of work. But from what I see, most prefer to get into industry a little higher up the ladder. Lots of girl engineers in the latest hiring group. But for jobs where you actually get your hands dirty? Still several hundred men to one woman ratio.

  2. I will say that the pandemic was very cost effective for my daughter in school. The school she attends gave them 50% off when they sent them home her freshman year and finished online. They then cancelled on site first semester and made second semester optional and reduced the price to 25% of normal. She received a pandemic relief on tuition and a payment that significantly reduced this year. Now what her last year cost will be but am guessing it will be back to close to normal.

  3. It all boils down to supply and demand. The reason trades are paying well is specifically because there’s a glut of college students and a dearth of tradesmen. Combine that with millennial householders who don’t even know how to start a lawn mower, and demand for trades is very high.

    When I was preparing to go off to college over 30 years ago, I remember being armed with important information such as what my earnings potential was for any specific degree choice or for other choices such as forgoing a degree, going into the military, or learning a trade. I made my choices based on that and specifically avoided choices with limited earning potential. It would be nice if high school kids today were pro-actively provided with this information as well.

  4. Daughter #1 started college the fall of 2019. COVID screwed everything up, did remote school from home half of the year, stupid lockdowns the second year. The school has handed out tuition discounts and even gave a 5th year away for free if the student would stay enrolled and complete the 4 years – the 5th year could be used to make up for classes missed in the COVID phase or for starting an MBA, whatever was needed. Rumor has it so many students dropped out the school got very close to needing to close the doors. Doing fine now, glad my daughter stuck it out as now she is on track and going to graduate as scheduled.
    However a lot of her high school graduating class – and I’ve heard numbers as high as 75% of those who attended college – dropped out during the COVID lockdowns. She is in the minority of those who stuck with it. The good news is that based on the information I’ve seen she will be graduating into a market starving for employees, so she should have a good start to her career. But a lot of her friends and former schoolmates are either choosing to go into a trade of some sort, or trying to figure out how to re-start college plans at smaller community colleges, joining the military, or wallowing in self-pity and despair.
    Daughter #2 (whom Kim has met) decided she hated the high-school COVID experience, graduated early, got admitted to her dream school in Texas (UNT), and is doing just fine. Now her high school classmates who didn’t graduate early are all now fighting to get into schools as they are now competing not just with their graduating class (nationwide) but also all the people who put college plans on hold during COVID. This year the competition for acceptance to school is much harder. I’m very glad Daughter #2 decided to graduate early, chances are she would not have been accepted into her dream school for this next fall. Again, a lot of her friends are choosing trade schools and other options.
    It’s going to be really interesting to see the reverberations for the COVID lockdowns over the next few years, and how it plays out as these kids start entering the workforce.

  5. I used to work in construction management and with the great recession of 2008 left the industry. Vermont was very hard hit with labor shortages in the trades even in early the 2000s. Many other areas have also been hit very hard.

    A teacher in high school taught at the University of Wyoming for a while. Everyone graduating from a high school in Wyoming was accepted to the UofW apparently. The department head told my teacher when he was teaching there, to fail half the class because at least half of the class was not capable of college level work and didn’t belong there. I was stunned when I heard that at 16 or 17. Since then I’ve come to the conclusion that the department head was most likely right.

    Trade school is a great way to earn a good living.


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