Parker: Labor Market Problems Lurk Beneath the Strong Economy

In a photo from Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2015 in Lansing, Mich., Lansing Community College, Brad Bancroft, left, operates a mill as Nate Joseph, center, and Adam Woodhams, right, look on in the advanced precision machining class. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

Elaine Parker of Job Creators Network writes in Townhall about how the emphasis on four-year liberal arts colleges is not only saddling young people with crushing debt but also creates a gap in the labor market by neglecting to promote the attainment of valuable skills that could be taught for less money by vocational or trade schools.

Over the last three decades, college tuition at traditional four-year institutions has risen by over 200 percent and the ballooning price tags are not showing any signs of slowing down. As a result, a whole generation of young adults is being crushed under an avalanche of student debt. Collectively, American college graduates owe roughly $1.4 trillion in loans.

. . .

Besides being strapped with tens of thousands of dollars in debt shortly following graduation, government promotion of four-year degrees also results in systematic labor market issues. While there may be an abundance of twenty-somethings armed with liberal arts degrees that can quote Jane Austen or Thomas Hobbes, fewer young Americans are equipped with the skills taught at vocational or trade schools.

These less time consuming and more affordable paths of post-high school education impart the expertise required for professions like nurses, electricians or mechanics; all careers that are necessary for a modern community to operate and often accompany hefty salaries of $50,000 or more. In fact, new Job Creators Network/Scott Rasmussen Weekly Pulse polling released Thursday reveals nearly two-thirds of Americans believe a better trade school or apprentice system is the best way to lift people out of poverty.

Read the rest of the article here.


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