by Payton Seppala ‘23
For many students, college is promoted as the only real gateway to a successful career, and fewer students are entering trade schools or joining the workforce in skilled jobs. Because of this, the US Chamber of Commerce reports a “massive shortage of skilled workers” for this year, which, left unchecked, will cause detrimental effects for the American economy. Schools should promote various pathways for students to follow post-graduation by providing more opportunities for those interested in trade work and more information on alternative pathways to college.
The biggest factor leading to this drop in young skilled workers is the lack of information students have. Within high schools, there isn’t much talk about the benefits of joining skilled trades, as college often seems like the default decision for many students. For example, it’s important to note that attending a trade school only takes students around two years to graduate, and are much cheaper than a four year college meaning graduates leave with little to no student debt. Apprenticeship partnerships with local businesses should be made more available to high school students as well, where teens can learn the ropes of a trade without committing to a certain career path. As more skilled jobs become needed, high schools must take the initiative to promote skilled trades even more as a viable alternative to the traditional college path.