Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

April 23, 2013

CONFER: Choosing a trade over a degree

Niagara Gazette — A conversation that I regularly have with parents of high schoolers centers on the job market that their children will enter. The post-recession economy is tough enough for mom and dad, so they can’t help but wonder what might be the best path of study for their kids to pursue in college and, in turn, what sort of career should they prepare for to ensure a comfortable adulthood.

It’s to the point now that in those conversations I deemphasize the importance of college and suggest that parents inspire their teens to go after a career that is not predicated on a college degree. Economic and employment trends are showing both immediate and long-term needs for skilled tradesman. A teenager would be far better off by abandoning the college preparatory, general education tract in high school and, instead, entering BOCES and/or preparing for trade school after graduating.

It’s an outcome of supply and demand; there’s just too much competition for a finite number of job openings that require college degrees to warrant an investment in a diploma.

This wasn’t always the case. Just a generation or two ago, the college-educated were at a premium and, accordingly, could fetch a premium. Following World War II, only 5 percent of Americans could claim a college degree. In 1970, only 26 percent of the middle class workforce had received any education beyond the twelfth grade. Now, more than 3 in 10 have a degree, while 70 percent of young Americans enter college within 2 years of their high school graduation.

Due to this glut of educated workers, employers either can’t match candidates to jobs for which they became enlightened (over-qualification) or they can command lower wages paid for college graduates than one would have assumed just a decade ago or what one expects based on the size of the post-secondary investment (those are the outcomes of over-supply).

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Bob Confer
  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Don't go soft on teenage criminals New York is one of two states â€" North Carolina being the other â€" that automatically prosecute 16- and 17-year-olds as adults in misdemeanor and felony cases. Other states do so only on a conditional basis at the whim of the presiding judge.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug 040214 CONFER: Tax refunds are no reason to be happy A strange thing tends to happen this time of year: taxpayers who should be damning the government end up praising it. These brainwashed souls, numbering in the millions, feel rewarded by what appears to be government benevolence in the form of a tax refund, failing to realize that they are getting back only a little of the money that was rightfully theirs to begin with.

    April 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Russia on the right side of Crimea issue I don't like Russia. Never have. Probably never will.

    March 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: State's foot-dragging aggravates our energy woes I don't have to tell you that it's been a miserable winter in the northeast. We've been battered by an array of winter storms, from Polar Vortices to blizzards, and a seemingly endless barrage of below-average temperatures.

    March 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Veterans tax exemptions making school boards uneasy School boards eyeing the new, optional veterans tax exemption in New York State face perilous choices: Who do you please? Who do you offend? Veterans or the majority of taxpayers?

    March 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug [Duplicate] CONFER: The importance of Boy Scouts in America What do Gerald Ford, Neil Armstrong, and William DeVries have in common?

    February 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • • Confer, Bob mug CONFER: Move New York's primaries to June In 2009, the federal government passed the Military and Overseas Voter Empowerment (MOVE) Act, which mandated that the states have federal absentee ballots in the hands of overseas military personnel at least 45 days before an election, to ensure that their completed ballots could be received by local boards of elections in a timely fashion.

    February 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: New York state could soon tax the scouts These are interesting times in New York, as we have a governor and a state legislature touting various reform packages that are expected to drop some tax rates after years of steady tax growth. It comes at a time when those same parties are testing the waters for even more public services such as universal pre-kindergarten.

    February 3, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: State bill would mandate parenting classes S142-2013, under review by the state Senate education committee now, would require parents of elementary school age children to attend parent support programs and workshops, including one concerning abuse in its various forms. If they didn't, their kids wouldn't be allowed to enter seventh grade.

    January 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer Mug CONFER: Opening the gates to Common Core For many, Bill Gates â€" he of the $67 billion net worth â€" is looked at as a hero for American education. Through his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, he has invested millions in the development and introduction of the Common Core standards, the latest and allegedly greatest remodeling of teaching as we knew it.

    January 20, 2014 1 Photo

Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Raw: More Than 100,000 Gather for Easter Sunday Raw: Greeks Celebrate Easter With "Rocket War" Police Question Captain, Crew on Ferry Disaster Raw: Orthodox Christians Observe Easter Rite Ceremony Marks 19th Anniversary of OKC Bombing Raw: Four French Journalists Freed From Syria Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page