and the Future of Workforce Development
For many of us, going to a four-year college was an automatic choice, if not a mandate from our parents, when we graduated from high school. Since the 1950s, there has been a strong cultural correlation between getting a four-year college degree and financial/career success. According to the National Center for Educational Statistics, a bachelor’s degree accounted for an average of $16,900 in additional income per year compared to a high school diploma ($30,000 versus $46,900). Over a 30-year career in the workforce, that is more than a $500,000 difference in earnings. Other benefits of getting a degree from a four-year college include the social experience, broader knowledge base and career flexibility.
However, due to the increasingly high costs associated with a college education, as well as the fact that college may not be suited to everyone’s learning style and skill set, more and more people are considering trade school as an education alternative. If you are a hands-on learner, excited by the prospects of getting out of the classroom and starting to work immediately after high school, trade school is a relatively inexpensive option.
Make no mistake, accumulating knowledge, however you decide to do so, is a great thing. And the more options made available to both high school graduates and those seeking continuing education to advance their careers ultimately strengthens regional workforce development, economic development and quality of life.