In the late 1960s, almost all prime-working-age men, typically defined as 25 to 54, worked—nearly 95 percent. That figure had dipped to 85 percent by 2015—a decline most acutely felt among men without college degrees. The trend of men dropping out of the labor force, particularly non-college-educated men, has been building for more than six decades. It has been a slow withdrawal, but a steady one—a flow that began with a sharp decline in opportunities for men who dropped out of high school, and grew to include those who earned a diploma but not a degree.
One of the things I've heard about off and on in the last few years is the idea of free college for everyone. I find that idea dubious at best, and I basically mostly don't regret having gone to college. but I'd be the first to say that getting a degree in journalism in the 1990s was a fast ticket to never getting work in journalism. I know for some authors out there they felt the 1990s were alright for them and that the age of internet journalism screwed them over, but I never made it into journalism as a paying field beyond a very small number of freelance projects.
So for me, looking back on the last twenty some years of never working in the field I got a degree for, I'm inclined to think that what the U.S. should try to do is revitalize the "unskilled" labor market.
Why fewer and fewer men without college degrees are showing up in the work force is anybody's guess. Maybe a stereotypically conservative theory would be that men without degrees are just less willing to put in an honest day's work but that is, obviously, invoking a stereotype about how some social conservatives might think. I did see a comment that if men aren't marrying women because of some kind of lack of jobs that there have been plenty of jobs out there, though this was a polemic offered with the explanation that there was an epidemic of singleness of the sort that is rampant in Reformed and neo-Calvinist circles. The possibility that jobs for men without college degrees, in particular, might not pay nearly enough to raise a family on was not exactly a concern.
A more theoretically liberal theory could be that the men who don't get college degrees are doomed for whatever reason to have less lucrative employment. I wonder about that, though. Men in my age group who trained to be electricians and carpenters must be making more money than ... someone I know about now.
There's a stigma attached to younger men choosing trade schools over college. It's a stigma that, as a college graduate myself, I would say is unwarranted.
Toren Reesman knew from a young age that he and his brothers were expected to attend college and obtain a high level degree. As the children of a radiologist—a profession that requires 12 years of schooling—his father made clear what he wanted for his boys: “Keep your grades up, get into a good college, get a good degree,” as Reesman recalls it. Of the four Reesman children, one brother has followed this path so far, going to school for dentistry. Reesman attempted to meet this expectation as well. He enrolled in college after graduating high school. With his good grades, he got into West Virginia University—but he began his freshman year with dread. He had spent his summers in high school working for his pastor at a custom cabinetry company. He looked forward each year to honing his woodworking skills and took joy in creating beautiful things. Schooling did not excite him in the same way. After his first year of college he decided not to return.
He says pursuing custom woodworking as his lifelong trade was disappointing to his father, but Reesman stood firm in his decision, and became a cabinetmaker. He says his father is now proud and supportive, but breaking with family expectations in order to pursue his passion was a difficult choice for Reesman—one that many young people are facing in the changing job market.
Traditional college enrollment rates in the U.S. have risen this century, from 13.2 million students enrolled in 2000 to 16.9 million students by 2016. This is an increase of 28 percent according to the National Center for Education Statistics. Meanwhile, trade school enrollment has also risen, from 9.6 million students in 1999 to 16 million in 2014. This resurgence came after a decline of vocational education in the '80s and '90s. That dip created a shortage of skilled workers and tradespeople.
Many jobs now require specialized training in technology that bachelor’s programs are usually too broad to address, leading to more “last mile” type vocational education programs after the completion of a degree. Programs such as Galvanize aim to teach specific software and coding skills; AlwaysHired offers a “tech sales bootcamp” to graduates. The manufacturing, infrastructure, and transportation fields are all expected to grow in the coming years—and many of those jobs likely won’t require a four-year degree.
Taking up a theme from an article last year ...https://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2018/04/25/605092520/high-paying-trade-jobs-sit-empty-while-high-school-grads-line-up-for-university
If there's something I would advise against here in 2019 it would be going to a liberal arts college to study the arts.
Take a recent announcement about the Art Institute of Seattle.
seattle-news/i-was-scammed- art-institute-of-seattle-will- close-abruptly-friday-two- weeks-before-end-of-quarter/
The Art Institute of Seattle will close abruptly on Friday, leaving about 650 students in the lurch — without classes, professors, or possibly diplomas.
The Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC), a state regulation agency, announced the end of the school’s 73-year tenure on Wednesday, just over two weeks before the winter quarter was supposed to end.
Sarah Fuad, 21, moved from Saudi Arabia in 2016 to study fashion design, and was one quarter away from finishing her degree. She was on track to finish a year early — but now, if she doesn’t find a new school, she says she’ll need to leave the U.S. within 60 days.
Fuad said she feels broken. She said, “I’d rather die than go back home with nothing.”
Fuad said her father has spent more than $100,000 on tuition and even more paying for her rent. Her family planned to come to the U.S. for her graduation. By Wednesday, Fuad had already applied to another school.
The Art Institutes, a group of art colleges nationwide, has struggled with financial troubles for years; the company that owned them went bankrupt in 2017 and Dream Center Foundation, a faith-based nonprofit, bought the schools. Court filings show that since the purchase, the schools have grappled with financial issues.
In WSAC’s Wednesday press release, Deputy Director Don Bennett disagreed with Dream Center Foundation’s abrupt decision to close, calling it “deeply troubling and disappointing.”
“It’s incredibly frustrating and distressing to students and it completely disrupts their education,” Bennett said. WSAC will hold information fairs for AI Seattle students on March 12 and 13 and work with around 30 colleges and universities to help transfer credits, waive some graduation requirements and possibly develop a “teach-out,” where students could finish an Art Institute degree through coursework at another school.
Blair Brown, 27, planned to finish her bachelor’s at the institute, studying graphic design, this summer. She and her brothers, who helped pay for her education, spent $39,000, and she’s unsure if she can get this last quarter’s tuition back. She works full time at Amazon Go as an employee trainer.
“Now that we’re closing this quarter, all the work I did … none of that matters,” Brown said. “I’m a pretty confident person, but even me, faced with this, I feel like I was scammed, like I was stupid.”
Now I'd heard positive things about the Institute twenty some years ago but ... that was twenty some years ago.
The motif of people going to liberal arts schools and coming out the other side with no degree or with a degree and never working in the field they studied for is a set of topics I've had decades to think about. For people who somehow landed work in whatever field it is they studied for, perhaps there's a temptation to think of skepticism about higher education in the liberal arts as a guy shaking fist at cloud. I suppose that's possible, but the quote from the student who felt that she was scammed by the art institute is a quote that could describe a generation or two of people. It might feel to people who enrolled in a school and never finished a degree that they're stuck with the debt either way. To bring things back to Hindemith's admittedly scathing remarks on American musical education, if you have a culture that panders to the idea that each and every student could be that special success story regardless of ability, skill, interest, and drive, there's a possibility that American arts education culture could potentially be a scam, but the kind of scam that is all the worse because the educators really believe in it themselves.
Maybe there's room for folk art, art made by people who aren't making any money from what they do but do it as a way of interacting with artists and staying involved in the arts.
And the stuff I wish I had heard more about in my degree-earning years was how many of the musicians and composers had humdrum day jobs. I wouldn't have heard that Sor had a sinecure in a military position before he left Spain. Not that people talk up Dussek all that much in undergraduate discussions of music but how and why he bailed on a wife and child would be worth knowing about. A history of artists running aground on mundane or catastrophic aspects of domestic life is hardly a new thing.
I recently finished a biography about Joseph Lamb, one of the big three ragtime composers and despite his musical activity he trained in carpentry and worked a fairly normal nine-to-five job while having befriended Scott Joplin and Stark and other figures who played important roles in ragtime. Charles Ives, a bit more famously, was in insurance sales. As I get older these sorts of composers intrigue me because going through a day job that has nothing to do with music has been the story of my life for decades. Although I don't exactly regret getting a degree and training in journalism and music I do feel hesitant at best to commend studying the arts to anyone considering more advanced education. Or, rather, study the arts, but with the idea that it will be a hobby you can share with friends and family. It seems wiser to suggest people go to trade schools rather than liberal arts colleges in this day and age. It seems reckless to talk about college for all not so much because education has no value but because the kind of student debt crises I read about don't seem like they will just end if college is free for all. Societies that I've hear of that get college to work, to go by accounts shared by European friends, have more invested in helping students figue out what they can do with how you test well ... American educational ideas don't seem ... as pragmatic as that ... . We may have too much of a sense of "vocation" entwined in our approaches to education. But I digress.