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“College Education or Technical Training”: Why Not Both?

What changes can we make that would allow new adults to get the benefits of both an apprenticeship and college education.

Why is it Important to Obtain a College Education?

The U.S. has changed from a manufacturing industry to a technology based economy. Occupations that help workers with a high school diploma sustain a middle-class lifestyle now require a college education, certifications, and other industry-related credentials. This will continue as more industries demand specific skills and knowledge of their workers to compete effectively in the global marketplace. In order to give yourself the best chance for a well-paying job, you must understand the importance of obtaining a college degree. A college education serves as the gateway to more opportunities and options.

Why a Career and Technical Education?

Career and Technical Education prepares students with the technical skills, knowledge, and training necessary to succeed in future careers and motivates them become lifelong learners. Here are some statistics from the Association of Career and Technical Education:

  • 4 out of 5 secondary CTE graduates who pursued post-secondary education after high school had earned a credential or were still enrolled two years later.
  • 27 percent of people with less than an associate degree, including licenses and certificates, earn more than the average bachelor degree recipient.
  • The skilled trades are the hardest jobs to fill in the United States, with recent data citing 806,000 jobs open in the trade, transportation and utilities sector and 293,000 jobs open in manufacturing.
  • Health care occupations, many of which require an associate degree or less, make up 12 of the 20 fastest growing occupations.
  • Middle-skill jobs, jobs that require education and training beyond high school but less than a bachelor’s degree, are a significant part of the economy.

Looking back on my career path I benefited from both a technical and college education. While in high school, I attended vocational school to earn my culinary arts certificate. During college, I worked as a chef to support myself. I was able to earn sustainable wages while earning a college degree. After college, I quit working as a chef and began my career in the corporate world. Then the economy tanked. Corporations were downsizing and I found myself unemployed. I was able to fall back on my occupational training in culinary arts to sustain my family and I until the economy recovered. Without this training, I could have lost everything but I didn’t because I had an in-demand skill.

Don’t get me wrong, earning my college degree was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I would not Dr. Corinthia Price, if it wasn’t for my college education. I’ve held prominent positions in various organizations and educational institutions.

I became a lifelong learner because of the training and discipline I’ve received in vocational school. With this training I was able to sustain myself through college, earn sustainable wages while the economy recovered, and further my education to completion (Associate through Doctorate Degree).

My point is, “Why Choose a College Education over Technical Training”?

Originally published at workforcecareers.net

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