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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Hot jobs of the future: welder, plumber

Tennessee’s technical colleges focus on job skills, such as mechatronics.

We’ve reached peak college, writes urbanist Joel Kotkin in Newsweek. The jobs of the future are in the skilled trades.

A survey taken in 2020 found that only a third of undergraduates see their educations as advancing their career goals, and barely one in five think the BA is worth the cost. . . . The vast majority of young people prioritize such things as finding a good paying job over the social uplift and hefty tuitions associated with four-year colleges. Not surprisingly, overall college enrollment is not simply dropping; it’s fallen a full 11 percent in the past decade.

“The biggest unmet demand may be for blue-collar professionals like welders, machine tool operators, carpenters, and plumbers,” writes Kotkin, who directs the Urban Reform Institute.

Many jobs will not survive the coming “robotic tsunami,” he predicts. Instead of learning to code, learn how to “install plumbing systems or maintain machines.”

OhioKentucky, Nebraska and Tennessee are boosting their skills-training programs, emulating European countries such as GermanySweden and Denmark, Kotkin writes. “Tennessee has used its training program as a lure for car companies.”

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