College, college, college — what about trades?
While U.S. students are told that a four-year college degree is the only route to success, employers are paying top dollar for those willing to learn skilled trades, writes Hechinger’s Jon Marcus.
Garret Morgan, 20, quit college to train as an ironworker near Seattle. He earns $28.36 an hour, more than $50,000 a year, plus benefits, at job sites where he trains.
“While a shortage of workers is pushing wages higher in the skilled trades, the financial return from a bachelor’s degree is softening, even as the price — and the average debt into which it plunges students — keeps going up,” writes Marcus.
In a new report, the Washington State Auditor found that good jobs in the skilled trades are going begging because students are being universally steered to bachelor’s degrees. Among other things, the auditor recommended that career guidance — including about choices that require less than four years in college — start as early as the seventh grade.
The shortage of skilled trades workers is nationwide.