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Power Line

John Hinderaker

April 1, 2024

America’s colleges and universities have damaged our country badly, and don’t show any sign of reform. So one obvious path to improvement is for fewer people to attend them. Happily, that is happening: not only that, but young people are finding better alternatives. Links in original:

Long beset by a labor crunch, the skilled trades are newly appealing to the youngest cohort of American workers, many of whom are choosing to leave the college path. Rising pay and new technologies in fields from welding to machine tooling are giving trade professions a face-lift, helping them shed the image of being dirty, low-end work. Growing skepticism about the return on a college education, the cost of which has soared in recent decades, is adding to their shine.

Enrollment in vocational training programs is surging as overall enrollment in community colleges and four-year institutions has fallen. The number of students enrolled in vocational-focused community colleges rose 16% last year to its highest level since the National Student Clearinghouse began tracking such data in 2018. The ranks of students studying construction trades rose 23% during that time, while those in programs covering HVAC and vehicle maintenance and repair increased 7%.

Meanwhile, enrollment in four-year colleges and universities is down. That is a good thing.



If mommy and daddy told you to go college and then you'd be set for life...you're not alone. With traditional models pushing everyone towards white-collar jobs and university degrees, we've created a massive oversupply of finance bros and marketers, but left those blue-collar industries begging for some fresh meat.

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