Join Our Mailing List
651-789-3366 Donate

Blog

Reason #6 Why College Is A Lousy Deal

My past five blogs have explained why I think college is not a good idea for many of you reading this. A short summary of those reasons are: 1. The market for college graduates is saturated. 2. Grade inflation has diminished the quality of a college degree. 3. College...

read more

Reason #5 Why College Is A Lousy Deal

This reason escapes a lot of peoples’ notice. Most folks make a distinction between college and vocational education. They think of them as separate entities, i.e., higher education versus learning a trade. Even worse is the widespread conviction among the general...

read more

Reason # 4 Why College Is A Lousy Deal

Reason # 4 Why College Is A Lousy Deal College is way overpriced. That’s #4 on my list of reasons why college is a lousy deal, and maybe the biggest reason of all. College tuition has risen almost 400% over the past three decades, according to the College Board.  It’s...

read more

Reason #3 Why College Is A Lousy Deal

In my last blog, I identified grade inflation as Reason #2 why a college degree doesn’t mean what it used to. I explained that grade inflation started with the anti-Vietnam War movement of the 1960s, when college students were exempt from the military draft and...

read more

Reason #2 Why College Is A Lousy Deal

A college degree doesn’t mean what it used to. In my last blog I explained that one reason is because so many people have college degrees nowadays (33% of American adults, vs. just 5% in 1940). As a result, some 37% of recent college graduates are working in jobs that...

read more

Reason #1 Why College Is A Lousy Deal

Reason #1 Why College Is A Lousy Deal A college degree doesn’t mean what it used to. Reasons are varied, and I’m going to address them in a series of blogs starting now. Reason #1 is that more people than ever are going to college. According to the Bureau of Labor...

read more

Apprenticeships Get A Boost

Last week President Trump took aim at expanding apprenticeship programs for the manual trades, which has been applauded by the Business Roundtable, consisting of major employers. It’s about time apprenticeship has gotten a boost! Apprenticeship is a training system...

read more

Debt Till Death

Do you love your Mom and Dad? There are exceptions, but I suspect most people reading this would answer yes.   If you do, do them a favor. Don’t put them in such a hole supporting your college education that they have to struggle in retirement. Unfortunately,...

read more

Bad Driving Is A Killer – Of Careers Too

In recent years road signs have popped up warning against texting while driving. This has become an epidemic among young people in particular. I know many of you reading this are teens and twenty-somethings. To you, I want to say … STOP IT! TEXTING WHILE DRIVING IS...

read more

The Power of Positive Thinking

April 25, 2017 Are you a grouchy person, always complaining about something? If so, please stay away from me. Not just me. Nobody likes to hang around with a grouch. The Power of Positive Thinking was a best-selling book from the 1960s that is still on sale. Its title...

read more

Earth Day 2017

April 11, 2017 Something’s missing April 22 has in recent times come into its own as a pseudo-holiday when organizers try to turn the country’s attention to environmental concerns. I’m all for keeping the environment clean – who isn’t? It’s like being for motherhood...

read more

Dummies Need Not Apply

March 28, 2017 A skilled trade requires smarts Pardon my rant, but when something annoys the hell out of me I have trouble keeping quiet. One of the things that sets me off is when college-educated people look down on the trades as something less intelligent people...

read more

Construction Plagued by Labor Shortages

February 2017 Service firms also cry for trade workers Most of our economy has largely recovered from the devastation of the “Great Recession” that started in 2008. One notable exception is construction. Home building is still at recession levels, and one reason is a...

read more

Student Loan Debt Worsens

February 2017 College is increasingly a bad buy Last month the news media was filled with a story that ought to send a chill up the spine of anyone thinking of taking out a student loan to attend college. The U.S. Education Department admitted that it had...

read more

Don’t Be Misled About Pay Scales

January 24, 2017 Skilled trades compete well with college grads According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), 68% of high school graduates go on to attend college. Young people face enormous pressure from family and friends to do so. The biggest reason is the...

read more

College Enrollment Continues To Drop

January 10, 2017 But vocational enrollments are up. Regular readers of this blog know that a consistent theme to my articles has to do with the fact that vocational education in a skilled trade is a worthwhile alternative to college for mechanically minded...

read more

Great Strides In Trade Professionalism

December 20, 2016 Companies have gotten more sophisticated Shortly before I retired as editor of magazines serving the plumbing and HVAC industries, I was invited to speak to a trade group on the subject of changes in the industry that I had witnessed during my career...

read more

Are You Job-Ready? – Part 4

December 6, 2016 Act like a professional This will be my final blog on the subject of job readiness. The topic is professionalism. What does professionalism mean? One dictionary defines it as “the skill, good judgment, and polite behavior that is expected from a...

read more

Are You Job-Ready? – Part 3

November 29, 2016 You must get along with people Some professions are typically characterized as a “people business.” Certainly anyone who sells for a living falls into that category. Public relations, politics and other fields also require advanced social skills on...

read more

Are You Job-Ready? – Part 2

November 15, 2016 Great work requires focus and concentration Are you really ready to hold down a responsible job? You need more than technical ability. The ultimate sign of readiness is productivity coupled with excellence. Can you produce value commensurate with the...

read more

Are You Job-Ready? – Part 1

Time is of the essence. Your success in a trade career depends on several elements. One is mechanical aptitude, coupled with relevant technical education and/or experience. You must be trained or trainable, and able to do the work. In the next several articles I will...

read more

BREAKING NEWS – Help Wanted Everywhere!

October 20, 2016 The trade shortage is a global problem It’s not just here in the U.S. Employers around the world are finding it hard to recruit enough skilled trade workers – harder than any other field. The latest Talent Shortage Survey by ManpowerGroup that was...

read more

High Demand, Short Supply

October 11, 2016 That’s good for trade workers! Chapter one of almost every basic course in economics starts with the law of supply and demand. When there is too much supply of a product or service, prices drop and providers of those goods and services leave the...

read more

THE IMPORTANCE OF VOCATIONAL EDUCATION

September 29, 2016 By Rebecca Woodul ITT Tech’s nationwide closure forces us to ask, where is the next generation of skilled tradesmen and women going to come from? Are there enough tools out there able to bring young men and women into the fields starving for talent?...

read more

Lessons From The ITT Fiasco

September 27, 2016 Squeeze lemons before buying them If you pay attention to the news, you probably have heard about the closure earlier this month of ITT Technical Institute, a for-profit college chain with more than 130 campuses in 38 states and some 40,000 students...

read more

You Need Relevant Skills

September 13, 2016 A big bank funds a program to do that The media keeps reporting that the U.S. unemployment rate keeps dropping. The latest official data shows that it has dropped below 5% of the eligible workforce, a level that historically has come close to...

read more

Grade Inflation Cheapens Education

But not in the trades Being a straight-A student is not nearly as hard as it used to be. A’s are now the most common grade given to college students (more than 42%), and A’s are three times more common than they were in 1960, according to the website...

read more

Seeing Is Believing

Open your doors to interested people Virtually every trade contractor I know tells me that finding qualified help is one of their biggest problems, especially technicians who are either experienced or trainable. They put help-wanted ads in all the right places, attend...

read more

Good Jobs Are Hard To Find

The trades offer plenty of them. Here’s a recent story that grabbed my attention. It describes a scene in Queens, New York, where hundreds of people camped out overnight to receive applications to join the Plumbers Local 1 apprenticeship program. The union made it...

read more