by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
The “everyone should go to college” mantra is brittle, false, failing, and harmful. Deep down, we all know it, and we’ve known it for a long time. Those promised returns to income from starting life in deep debt are simply not materializing like they used to. That Boomer windfall is long gone, if it ever existed in the first place.
But lots of young people and their parents don’t know their other options, or they know about them but are scared of the social pressure to live by failed narratives. Other great options are in fact plentiful, and partly because of our societal decline. Pertinent to the college discussion is the desperation of employers to find talent and their motivation to train that talent. It has never been higher in my lifetime (I’m “in the middle of our life’s journey” as an older millennial) and in the lifetimes of most working-age people today.
If you haven’t heard, employers are starved for employees thanks to stupid lockdowns and stupid attempts at medical coercion. A friend in the trades recently told me he knows hiring managers in construction who are combing active build sites to try to find people to hire and train for skilled labor jobs that are lifelong career opportunities.
He sent a recruiting flyer boasting jobs in plumbing, welding, HVAC, and the like starting at $30,000 plus benefits worth some $20,000 more per year, and by the fifth year of employment — or when a comparable peer would be finishing college — a salary of $60,000 plus benefits. That’s making more than the U.S. median household income in five years of work, with no college debt or timewasting. It’s well above the typical white-collar job trajectory, and can lead to salaries of six figures annually after a decade or so, as well as the possibility of starting one’s own business.