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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Jacobs

Subsidize job training, not just college

Ryan Bouland, who used a Work Ethic scholarship from the Mike Rowe Foundation to fund trade school, works as a welder and takes engineering classes at George State University.

“Free college tuition” means “pouring more public dollars into a good consumed largely by the more affluent half of the population,” writes Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic. Democrats should craft a populist policy that offers free job training as well.

His imaginary Democrat would say:

For the sake of fairness, class mobility, and the ideal of equality of opportunity, I believe generous financial aid should be available to all needy students for whom a four-year degree is the best way to achieve the American dream. But I also know America is overwhelmingly led by people with college degrees and white collar backgrounds––people who overvalue their own path to success and rig the system against others who’d thrive under a different approach. To them I say, a four-year degree shouldn’t be the only way for a young person to achieve the American dream.

In addition to subsidizing a university education, he proposes funding other paths to success, such as apprenticeships, vocational training and on-the-job training. “There are lots of blue-collar jobs that are more fulfilling, better paying, and more in demand than lots of white-collar jobs,” he writes.

Friedersdorf also wants to “eliminate obstacles like professional-licensing requirements that amount to no more than credentialism, and a shift away from insisting on a bachelor’s degree for jobs that shouldn’t require one.”

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