From the Houston Business Journal:

There was a time in this country when a college degree was considered the key to the American Dream. However, today, university education is synonymous with crippling student debt, frequent dropouts, underemployment or recent graduates working outside of their chosen fields.

What happened to the pathway leading to the American Dream? Supply and demand. Currently, there are an overwhelming amount of college graduates in the U.S. – the most there have ever been in the history of American education – and it’s not only affecting the supply and demand of industries; it’s creating immense competition within the workforce. More

college graduates are vying for jobs that require little to no education, pushing them further behind in their career progression. Meanwhile, employers in the automotive and home-repair industries, for example, cannot find the quality skilled workers they need. In its 2015 Talent Shortage Survey, ManpowerGroup ranked jobs in the skilled trades – think electricians, plumbers and auto technicians – as the hardest to fill. American businesses simply are not able to find applicants with the technical competencies they need; and this is something that is echoed by the employers in the Greater Houston area as well.

Our state, and the nation as a whole, faces another issue that threatens to stall our progress and slow our economy: a serious lack of skilled workers.

Changing America’s educational system

In today’s society, vocational careers are commonly perceived as inferior or too “blue collar.” Yet, a recent analysis of the federal College Scorecard data and U.S. labor market trends finds that students who attend an industry-aligned, quality postsecondary technical educational institute are earning more, on average, after 10 years than their peers from some of the nation’s liberal arts colleges and two-year community colleges. Given these realities, it is important that we as a community break down the stereotypes and barriers for students interested in pursuing careers in skilled labor industries. According to the National Center for Education Statistics, approximately 40 percent of students starting four-year colleges and 60-70 percent of students starting two-year colleges do not graduate. Created from the College Scorecard data, the report Preparing our Students for Career Success: What Parents Should Know analyzes how emerging and decades-old economic trends are affecting the American workforce. “ Read more…