Nov 27, 2021 1 min, 31 secs
Because many of the jobs supported by the infrastructure bill — jobs in fields like construction, carpentry and plumbing — don’t require a four-year college degree?

If you were to stop a group of students on the street and ask them if a college degree is necessary to secure a successful career path in this country, the answer is likely to be yes.

For example, a 2018 report by Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute indicated we’re on track to see more than 2 million unfilled manufacturing jobs by 2028 and other empty new-collar positions (jobs focusing on a specific set of skills not necessarily gained through a traditional college education) that require specialized training or certifications but don’t require a four-year degree.

These kinds of positions remain unfilled even though the majority of Americans don’t have a college degree.

On the other hand, most training and certification programs for new-collar positions cost a fraction of the price of a four-year degree and require a lot less time.

Now, this isn’t to say college is the wrong choice for everyone or that it doesn’t lead to better salaries and more job security in many cases.

But college isn’t the only way to avoid a minimum wage job, and the message that it is often means many young people spend four years or more accumulating debt only to be shut out of jobs suited to their degree.

While the jobs supported in the infrastructure plan are a solid step in the right direction, only continued bipartisan efforts to support more career learning programs for students and workforce development initiatives for adults will help our country adequately address the skills gap. 

The truth is many students can’t or don’t want to take out thousands of dollars in loans for college, and that’s OK, too

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