The sad part of that is all the kids that get caught up in the college wave. They get pressured to go to a 4 year school, take on a mountain of debt for a degree (if they are fortunate to graduate) they most likely won't use. So many students would be better off exploring the different trades and finding one that they really enjoy. There are hundreds of them.
I've been working on a project lately to help people explore and learn the trades online. Tradeskills.io It started as a side project for me a number of years ago teaching people how to get into the appliance repair trade. I've had over 600 students all across the country and Canada go through my training. The trades can be learned online and I think tech will need to play a big part in this area of education in the coming years.
And there's a ton of services you can offer through the AHS portal: home theatre setup, house cleaning, lawn maintenance, plumbing, computer repair, electrical etc.
(I get it; there are some people who would rather just pay, but surely some of these people just don't feel like they could manage this task. That's wild.)
When I was installing my blinds when I first moved in, a group of neighbors from down the street were walking by and asked me (through the open window) if I was the hired help (guess cus I looked too young to be the owner and too not-hispanic to be the usual hired help in the area, and god forbid anyone do their own manual labor). That was awkward.
Yea I don't get it either, but I know exactly what you're talking about. It's like when you see the meme/trope about Ikea furniture being hard to assemble. Really? What?
Oh dear, I always thought that was about missing parts or pieces not fitting. This gives a new perspective …
TBH, I think many people don't have the patience to follow the instructions. Even with the wordless ones Ikea uses, it can take a few minutes of study to understand the exact orientation of pieces a diagram is calling for.
It's a simple task you can and should do yourself. Money has very little to do with it.
Though you're right, that's probably common too, particularly when the children live far away.
It's not a "sexy" job - you'd be more likely to get a date telling someone you're a software developer than a plumber. But the low prestige of the job seems to make it worth .kre.
Back in another life I did a lot of online dating and tested this hypothesis by telling some of my dates that I worked as a garbage collector for the city. Those dates pretty much always ended early. :) I had drastically higher success when I told them my real job: software consulting.
The best way is to go through your insurance company if you can. They have contractors who have to take jobs. This leads to another idea that a good business might be selling a remodeling membership plan where you get access to contractors.
It's a thought-provoking read.
It also taught me that a LOT of people still behave in adulthood as they did in their adolescent years and they try to "smart-shame" those that have / persue "book smarts" since many of them work as skilled laborers and didn't care much about schooling / education.
I suspect this anti-intellectual attitude is underrated as a key problem in American culture. There could be greater value for lifelong learning, science (as in valuing empiricism over arbitrarily inventing your own facts), problem-solving oriented attitudes, and open-ended discussion. People shouldn't feel complacent and act like they don't have room for more knowledge and improvement.
Parents pass on flawed ideas about education or have lax standards about school work performance. I'd see evidence of this as how the most affluent class tends to put a lot of emphasis on educational achievement and the results pay off (but I don't believe this status quo is the best approach).
It exists in our politics. An open hostility toward The Establishment often includes institutions of education.
It inhibits the effectiveness of schools and teachers if a student lacks the attitude and is unreceptive. A student can both have a strong work ethic but not care about educational attainment. Evidence of this might be that increases of spending on education seem to lack consistent increases in outcomes. Early childhood education is seen as beneficial, but then the benefits tend to even out (maybe as students become acclimated to anti-intellectual culture).
People who can learn how to learn, or who appreciate and support those who can as leaders, will generally be better off.
At first I thought these two ideas were at ends, but the more I think about it the more I wonder if the real root concern should just be that too many people are anti-work, either physical or mental.
What I'm talking about applies to all people, including blue collar workers. I have a blue collar background, and I've worked labor intensive jobs. I grew up in a red part of the country, but it applies there as well.
I'm not debating if people should go to college or trade school. Mike Rowe has a dog in that fight but I don't. He claims that there is a shortage of people in the trades. If that's true, why don't companies raise wages and signal that there is a need?
You're not kidding. My kids are in high school and the pressure on them to go to college is nuts. They push it so hard that it makes me wonder if there's some kind of reward for the teachers based on the number of kids that go on to college.
Teachers are also punished for kids who give a try at non-mandatory exams, but fail. Those who wants to get it into university damn sure work hard. Meanwhile people who don't aim for university and take those exams for the lulz are likely to damage teacher's statistics.
Another fun fact - one of the points to certify a school as "gymnasium" is attendance. My school was certifying for that status during my last year. One of the vice-principals was nicknamed "12th graders attendance" since her office door was opening directly to cafeteria/lounge area and her #1 job was to make sure we attend as many classes as possible :)
No amount of absence would invalidate the course. But you if miss a test/quiz/project/etc, you automatically get 1 (out of 10). If you bring in a good excuse - of course you can re-do it at later date. If annual average drops bellow 3.5, school jury decides wether you can transfer to next year or not. In final year, < 3.5 would prevent you from taking that specific exam (which may give bonus points at your chosen university). If that exam is mandatory, then you have to repeat the course next year or drop out...
yes, there is.
The problem is public and less selective private colleges that have the same price tag as these schools, but deliver much less value.
The Ivies are interesting but statistically irrelevant simply because they have so few total seats.
Instead I flailed around, did some c programming, some web development, never went to uni. I even managed to get myself that first job as a software dev, slowly trading upwards, but it always worked against me that I was a high school drop out and had no degree.
Later in life, I looked upon the lack of degree as an asset, I worked harder than the guys/girls who did have a comp/sci degree, because I felt I had to prove myself constantly, to out-do those with a degree.
But I always look back and think, man, I wish I'd just done a carpentry apprenticeship. It's not like the systems change underneath you ever few years, that you have to learn a new "circular-saw" to help you cut timber because everyone is using it, even though the job you're working on, you could get away with a regular hand-saw. The analogy is shit, but you get what I mean.
Any friends/family who ever say "I'm thinking of being a plumber/sparky/chippy" I wholly encourage them.
I'm not saying all people in the trades are this way, but you find a lot of people who are alcoholics. It often does not impact their job, but people drinking a case of beer a day is not uncommon. If you can avoid drinking, the next problem is the damage you do to your body on the job. You are often lifting heavy things. You will be using dangerous power tools often. Any little loss of focus will lead to serious injury or worse. And even if you avoid that, there is only so much your body can take. Many people need surgeries or become crippled as they age.
Many of the people I once worked with have died from alcoholism, smoking, or related cancers. My own father is now forcefully retired due to back and knee issues. He can barely walk. He meets up monthly with the other people he worked with, who are now retired, and it is not a pretty site. I personally don't know anyone in this line of work who is happily retired and living the dream, so to speak.
The trades are very much about physical work and physical labor. Not everyone can take that kind of work for a lifetime.
The main difference is that I am from France, and as such my family enjoyed all of the socialist government policies like weekly hour limits, centralized healthcare, plenty of paid time off, etc.
If you're in a union, you basically pay union dues so that the union represents your interests. The power of unions vary widely in terms of healthcare, pensions, jobs available, etc. You get paid via a "scale" based on tenure. But in general, when new construction comes up (houses, skyscrapers, power plants, etc.) you get allocated to those jobs based on your tenure. You may work the same jobsite for years, or maybe a month. It just depends on how big the job is.
Alternatively, if your toilet is clogged, or a pipe is leaking, that is generally a service call. And that is handled, typically, by non-union work. With non-union work, you work specifically for a company. That company provides you with whatever benefits they offer (healthcare, retirement, etc.). When you work service, it almost always includes an "on-call" rotation. You get paid whatever hourly rate you can negotiate with the company and get paid overtime for off-hours work.
Unions are closest to what it sounds like you have in France. But trade unions here have lost much of their power over the years.
[edit: Also.. after witnessing the dysfunction of a home builder i worked with last year over basic Project Management work, I can see room for a lot of improvement if a programmer were embedded in their office. Maybe an idea for others identifying with your same situation.)
For real, creativity isn't going to stay a human property, and we'll have to understand what humanity's place really is - maybe not "working" at all.
Apprenticeship was once considered more important than academic degrees in many areas. The balance has gone too far towards academia, and blue collar 'workers' don't get nearly enough respect IMO
Now, the word apprenticeship doesn't HAVE to mean that. In its simplest form it just means working with a more experienced person to get skills. That I definitely support. But if apprenticeship means stopping less skilled workers from entering the market on their own, I'm opposed to that.
Meaning they should teach you a solid but generic base of skills. And not just let you do manual labour that doesn't require much skill.
Certifications are a public service. It's no different than for lawyers, doctors, or all the drivers on the road.
In some states the requirements for some types of certification are obviously intended to limit entrants into the market. But that's a different matter.
If a client is uncertain of their ability to judge risk, then they can hire from a trusted industry provider/union and pay a premium. I'd still like the ability to legally hire a poor person who may not have received a good enough public education to fulfill all of the state requirements for certification if the job is low risk enough. And I suspect the poor person would generally like to feed themselves or their family, so it's a win-win except for the incumbent wealthy who don't want their prices under-cut.
I don't need the government to tell me the electronics I buy are safe to plug into an outlet, there's private UL certification for that. I generally don't need the government to tell me who I'm allowed to pay for anything, even medicine.
_You_ might not need the nanny state to protect yourself from yourself, but many people do. In fact, pretty much everybody does, at some point in their lives, in some circumstances. (You just don't know when or where.) And because their loses are invariably externalized one way or another, society has an interest in providing minimum safeguards.
It's like taxes: taxes wouldn't work if everybody got to pick and choose where their taxes went. These solutions are intended to solve collective action problems, which by definition cannot readily and consistently be solved by everybody acting independently.
>society has an interest in providing minimum safeguards.
Requiring you to work at below market rates for YEARS is not in the best interest of society. Harming the poor or immigrant workers by not allowing them to earn a decent living is not in the interest of society. All of these things are in the best interest of the incumbent wealth, not "society."
If you want some protection, then you can easily pay for it. Hire a contractor through Home Depot, Sears, or some other trusted industry name where you'll get lots of contractual protections and the benefit that a multi-billion dollar corporation wants to keep a good reputation if it wants people to keep doing business with it. This works much BETTER than taxes because everybody DOES get to pick and choose where their money goes.
>These solutions are intended to solve collective action problems, which by definition cannot readily and consistently be solved by everybody acting independently.
These solutions are intended to maintain incumbent wealth which harms the poor. You keep trying to sell me on you protecting me, which you obviously know I don't value, without addressing the fact that your ideology keeps the poor in their place. There's two wealthy groups you're protecting here. First, as the property owner, I'm almost certainly more wealthy than the laborer. And secondly, you're protecting the wealthy incumbent workers who don't want lower skilled workers undercutting them.
But you are still in training. It's intended as something to do after middle school. Why should unskilled kids earn a full salary? They probably end up costing the company money during that time...
And also that's exactly where you need the regulation from the state! So it can ensure that you are actually properly training those people and not just using them as "human robots" to just do boring / unskilled manual labor.
1. You could still hire anyone you want. Certificated or not...
2. The certificate is not just some random piece of paper. It does (or at least should) actually prove that you had some training in that field and are skilled.
If some people are unable to get such a training and a certificate, then the problem lies somewhere else (i.e. the reasons why they can't...).
But it would be nice if there was an "official" apprenticeship for young people as a valid alternative to a college degree. And that shouldn't be some specific training for some random company, but lead to a comparable skill level so you can work everywhere in the country in that field.
Why does a wealthy incumbent need to be protected by having the state outlaw anyone from working without the wealthy incumbent's permission?
And also you dont NEED to. You can just learn it yourself and then somehow convince potential employers that you got the skills. What is stopping you from doing that?
Question: Let's say I know how to snake a sewer line. This is the kind of thing a handy home-owner would be able to rent the equipment for at Home Depot and do themselves if they were so inclined. That's literally the only plumbing skill I know. Can I offer that skill for sale on the open market to customers without first getting the permission of the state (certification on completion of apprenticeship) or an employer who offers me an apprenticeship?
Wahern is clearly saying that would not be possible. So that means that a poor person must get the permission of a wealthy plumbing business owner in order to sell their skills on the open market.
you would still have to get a degree level qualification if you want to progress assuming you have a permissive system that allows it until recently it was almost impossible to do this in Germany - the EU made them change this.
How many people here would tell their children 'yeah forget about that LSAT and MCAT, do a one-year part time course in swimming pool construction, much better!'? Very few, I'd reckon. What's good for the good is good for the gander, right?
The tradesmen telling their children to go to uni do so based on their experience in a generation where there were far more tradesmen, with poorer salaries, and poorer worker protections. What we actually need in the workforce is _balance_.
A really good example of where this has gone wrong is over here in the UK: now, 50% of young people are expected to go to university and complete a degree. This means that you now need a degree just to be above-average, and most end up underemployed with student debts - it's simply the case that half of jobs do not require a degree, and this is going to shrink. Likewise, we've outsourced lots of our skilled trades to foreign labour coming from the EU. With the sudden change in how we work with the EU, the UK is going to see hard times with a distinct lack of skilled labour, with many being overeducated and in the wrong sectors.
The problem I see in the US is that because of the glut of degrees, jobs that should not require a degree do require a degree. The employers are making things worse when they require degrees for menial jobs.
However, you underestimate the machine that is high school and the impact that has on children. Despite all our conversations, her high school "advisor" insisted she go to college and convinced her to ignore the money aspects of it. When every other peer and parent of peer is feeding them the college or nothing lines, you start to look like an asshole being the only objector. How many times can you defend "Why don't you want your kid to go to college??" before you give in. Maybe there's some super-parents out there, and I did my best to show the reasons behind it, but she was 18 and free to make her own choices.
There's little guarantee she can even do what you intend; she may very well go back to get that psychology degree after washing out of basic (god forbid she gets pregnant to escape duty)
Trade schools aren't the alternative to the LSAT and MCAT. They are the alternative to the SAT. Important distinction.
The point is that if you CAN'T get a professional white-collar job, you are better off learning a blue-collar school than getting a degree in nothing-marketable.
My dad lost his job as a construction worker during the recession, in his 50s. At that age we knew it was going to be an uphill battle to continue to rely on his physical health for work much longer. So he hit the books while my mother continued to work part time, which allowed them to live off their savings longer at least.
Upon passing class and getting his license, I helped them bootstrap all the way through to his first customer. A simple website + a few hundred a month spent on google ads does wonders. My mother now spends her time answering customer emails/estimates/calls/paperwork and it’s has become a self sustaining machine, and I have stopped running their ad campaign (Running off the good reputation/reviews).
Now their biggest problem is finding enough skilled/trustworthy labor to complete their bids in a reasonable amount of time. As well as capex (still bootstrapped, which means expensive equipment rentals that eat heavily into margins)
I’m not tying to trivialize this, it was/is an insane amount of work with much to do before one can consider that “he made it”. Just pointing out that there is hope.
- Bay Area
-Parents speak English as a second language and only went to high school
Does being a contractor in SF require passing a class / license?
CSLB-C8 (Concrete contractor)
Furthermore, there are plenty of unlicensed contractors that we have to compete with, and a license requirement isn’t stopping them.
>While 29 percent of the nation's population was in poverty for at least two months between the start of 2004 and the end of 2006, only 3 percent were poor during the entire period.
Based on the actual data, your chances of getting out of poverty are quite GOOD.
I'm not a libertarian (or a Republican), but referring to groups in these types of ways (repuglican, libtard, obummer, etc.) always seems to me to indicate somebody that isn't interested in rational discussion, and is dismissive of any ideas that don't jive exactly with their current, deeply-embedded political philosophy. I'd love for you to prove me wrong.
Many of us tech workers have experienced incredible upward mobility.
what percentage of poor people become self-made billionaires?
What percentage of poor people who become self-made billionaires do so by going to trade school?
I mean, if you lived in a strict feudal society, the nobility as a class was CLOSED. Commoners not admitted. End of story.
At the same time, even if say 20% of people at the bottom quantile of the wealth/income bracket make up into the next 20% every generation -- is that enough social mobility? Not enough? Should we just not have any poor people at all?
If the goal is to have no people who are poor, doesn't the fact that we admit millions of (relatively) penniless legal and illegal immigrants make that goal much harder to achieve?
There's an inherent tension between low-wage immigration levels and building a strong social state.
The stronger your social welfare protections, the stronger incentive there is for economic migrants to come (as Europe is also finding out), and the more voters perceive income and wealth transfers as mostly benefiting outsiders versus members of their own society.
This is part of what is creating the reaction from the right in the US and elsewhere.
All the 'solutions' for this have their own issues:
1. Don't allow recent immigrants the benefit of social welfare payments: this literally gives migrants second-class status and directly causes inequality.
Some countries do this though under temporary worker programs. The Gulf states come to mind -- generous benefits for citizens, almost nothing for cheap migrant labor.
2. Only allow well-off or well-educated immigrants: This only works if your country can attract educated labor. Properly executed, you get an immigrant class that is skilled and productive. Poorly done, and your system resembles a 'buy a citizenship' program. Also, your own educated elite may not welcome the new competition.
Canada looks a bit like this -- relatively high levels of immigration, but much of it is skilled. Some of it is just rich people HK buying houses in B.C. though. This directly hurts wage earners who live there by making housing unaffordable for them.
3. Get rid of your welfare state entirely (or don't build it). The US is sort of vacillating between this and option 1, unfortunately. Also the left has vehemently complained about option 2, which is Trump's points reform proposal.
Not sure what the best solution is, but I wish people would admit that there is a tradeoff involved and talk through them rationally.
We do some of that but then we also depose governments, start wars under the banner of drugs and terrorism. Those latter effects are huge and often not considered in concert with immigration policy. I'm stealing this analogy, but keeping these people out is like setting fire to someone's home and then locking the door.
For instance, that process legitimizes outcomes rather than the other way around. That one is a bit weird, because the SV _thing_ is to conduct A/B testing and achieve outcomes at all costs. However, you also in your heart of hearts believe that there are institutions, such as schools, governments, and corporations that, solely on their own merits, elevate some people legitimately above others. You might also believe that hierarchy, coercion, and domination are legitimate elements of society when expressed in particular forms such as corporate officers, investors, managers, take-it-or-leave-it contracts, privatization, and denial of aid.
Here's a quick primer: https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/06/the-difference-betwee...
The strawman doesn’t help either.
We have a lot fewer poor people in Denmark, and that's undoubtedly a very good thing. But there are also very, very few people who would be considered more than comfortably middle class in the US.
I don't know a good way to measure this, but I think that you can move further, faster upwards in absolute numbers in the US rather than in Denmark. I would expect that it's comparatively easier to for someone born around the 20%-mark to make it to 80% in the US than for someone to make it from 10% to 90% in Denmark, even though about the same journey in absolute numbers.
The minimums aren't high, but the sponsor has to make enough to support them, specifically so that they don't require government assistance.
The Screwing of the Average Man  said that college used to be something the upper-class sent their children to so they'd have a leg up on the "uneducated" masses. Then the congress provided the GI Bill to subsidize college for WWII veterans. This kept disgruntled veterans occupied while the economy retooled to peacetime production. Thus began the college price spiral.
My great-grandmother played prohibition well, and sent all 4 of her children to teh college during the great depression. After WWII, the one grandfather didn't need any more college degrees and used the GI Bill to learn to fly small planes. My other grandfather had no interest in any college, so he didn't utilize his tuition credits... He certainly would've done better financially if he had...
The only class I enjoyed in my public school experience was my 8th grade "technology" class. This semester was broken up into woodshop, welding/metal working, "computers", photography, and (don't remember). 45 minutes of appreciated learnings, 5 days a week, for one semester. Everything else was busy work. I learned a few things, here and there, but not enough to justify the countless hours of boredom.
College was kind of a scam. I have an expensive diploma that doesn't mean anything. I learned a few things, here and there, but not enough to justify the $100k+ spent on my behalf.
John Gatto  says it's better to skip as much of the early years of schooling as possible: some children learn to read when they're 2, some when they're 8, and by the time they're 12 you can't tell the difference. I met a man a few months ago that was traumatized by not being able to "read" on the teacher's schedule when he was in 1st grade. He learned to read eventually, in spite of his school's efforts to force him to read before he was ready.
Allowing young children to have experiences in the real world instead of more classroom time would be much more valuable than giving young adults a choice of a trade school vs. more academics at age 18.
I was sort of that late kid. I couldn't read a damn sentence by the time I got to 1st class. While probably half of the class could reading. But I learned to ready during the 1st year and never had any problems with that.
On the other hand, I did learn simple calculus yearly on my own. Didn't do virtually anything during 1st class maths. I got in trouble for that in 3rd? year when I (or my parents?) realised I was falling behind. I did catch up. But math is definitely giving me harder time than reading/writing. I wonder if that's precisely because I got lazy thanks to early start.
P.S. following card game is awesome for teaching kids calculus. No idea how it's called in English, but Google Translate should be good enough to understand the rules https://lt.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karuselė_(kortų_žaidimas)
Provides a positive feedback loop that seemed to have positive results in the real world as well
There is no evidence that children from most 'alternative'
teaching systems do better or worse than those in
It seems like adjustment to society has nothing to do with 15 years of school because none of it matters, and just keeping people curious and off the streets has the most utility.
Or just make college useful and accessible. Give people the option of a European style undergrad where there is no liberal arts breadth, only technical courses. If we had accredited colleges doing 3 year bachelor degrees in STEM, the system would be much more efficient.
Separate college’s education and credentialism functions. If the US government says it will recognise anyone who passes X test as having a Bachelor’s degree in X, for some value of X, there will be a reasonable number of people getting four year degrees in three, two or one.
So just turn college into a trade school? All that would do is make trade schools more expensive.
The rest was far more focused on project management, 'self-management', scientific writing and project work.
I wouldn't say you could replace all of that with a one-year degree, but you surely could offer a foundation course after which people are capable to go into industry and work on their practical skills. I guess that's kind of what these 'coding boot camps' are doing now (I don't really know much about them).
But we still need the schooling option. For folks that want to start a business themselves. for folks that are getting other sorts of experiences while they are young. People wanting to continue schooling. And so on.
Notice the complete lack of anything that isn't computer science or mathematics.
The disadvantage is, if you decide you hate computing, you have to start again from almost nothing.
Edit: No amount of downvoting will change that taking a classes in african interpretive dace department that satisfy the "cultural enrichment criteria" needed to graduate is a waste of money. Money spent on fluff and money that will need to be paid back.
But maybe it is different in my country because we have universities paid by taxes.
I think the larger problem causing the social divide is getting in to begin with, as opposed to retention.
This "racism" as you call it is perfectly applicable to some professions.
It is a little different requiring a degree to be a secretary when a year course would get someone proficient, for example. Heck, you can be a lawyer in four states without going to college so long as you can pass the tests. I'm pretty sure that sort of system would work for lots of professions where we want folks to be educated, but they don't necessarily need the training of say a nurse or doctor.
College degrees are eventually going to suffer the same fate as the high school diploma due to all the pressure on people to go to college. And eventually, there will be political pressure in the US to make the government pay for universal college the same way it pays for K-12 education. Eventually, we’ll be encouraging extremely marginal students to spend eight years getting a bachelor’s degree and however long it takes such a student to get a master’s degree, and Social Security will collapse since no one will actually be working.
Really? See Friends. And looking at a list of top current Sitcoms, RickAndMorty, Bobs Burgers, OrangeIsTheNewBlack, TheGoldbergs, KevinCanWait, even TheBigBangTheory has a leading character without any college education. The setup of the educated character being one-upped or taken down a peg by the more socially aware character is a standard sitcom trope.
> The setup of the educated character being one-upped or taken down a peg by the more socially aware character is a standard sitcom trope.
That trope is common on Friends. But out of the cast of six, there are four college graduates and two non-graduates, and the non-graduates are depicted as raging idiots.
Seriously though, while this is part of the problem, I think the motivations behind this sort of thing are typically not really about what’s in the best interest of the working class. It has more to do with increasing political polarization of universities and a desire to reduce public spending on education, especially public education. The more straightforward solution is to ensure people can afford higher education if they want it. But if you’re more concerned about the short term bottom line, it’s easier to just let people either borrow absurd amounts of money for it or give up on that and go to a trade school.
Having people enter the workforce 4+ years sooner not only reduces debt it also allows them to be productive generating a lot of wealth.
Consider what it means if doctors skip an undergrad degree, it's not only less debt, but also more working years.
No one could possibly exercise literacy, problem solving, and rational thought without going for at least another $20k+ of student loan debt!
I passed on going to college due to getting an incredible co-op. I'm quite fortunate that my lack of a college degree has yet to limit my career. I give back by volunteering and providing co-op positions for the students of the program.
High School students are pushed to go straight to college and get a degree even when they're not 100% sure what they enjoy doing. They're not often provided with information about alternatives like attending a vocational program.
Caste and class systems do cause inter-class resentment, but history has shown that it is usually not enough to tear a society apart. Such resentment can even be useful to make the working class recognize that it has to stick together to get a piece of the pie (cf. social democracy). So now you have decent conditions for the working class and it's somewhat respected by everyone. Being working class is not a stigma, it is... just less prestigious.
The German school system creates a kind of stratified society - do note that it selects nominally by actual ability (in fact the parents are quite important, independent of other factors). A small problem is that the lowest stratum has become the lowest few percent and, like almost everywhere, education standards are decreasing in the now enlarged highest stratum. Electricians (my parents know one) are struggling to find good enough apprentices, and some academics have trouble finding work because there is no demand for their academic skills.
Do note that evening schools to prepare blue-collar workers for university exist.
It is all very un-American and counterintuitive, but stratified societies seem to work. Of course I recognize the downsides - inequality of chances and lost opportunities.
Very likely my opinion is also rose-colored because I grew up in and benefited from a time of great upwards mobility.
AFAIU, the class system in the UK is stronger and less permeable than the German system. The French system seems more permeable but it has a special kink in that it is stratified at the highest level - you either get into one of the top three or so Paris universities or you don't. More than half of all French industry leaders come from these top universities.
This isn’t true. Germany is the second most credentialist, title obsessed country in the world, with a class structure as obvious as in the UK, if different.
I don't even remember what they choose in the end. I think just a dropdown box. I probably told them I'm make the list of titles to choose from configurable in their backend system and they could make it however they wanted later - which nobody probably ever bothered to do.
Otherwise you basically have no other options than to do an apprenticeship or a trade school after middle school.
Which is much better than doing nothing at all, or going for some useless degree in college that will take you to debt.
Not everyone is smart, I am one of those people (pretty dumb), it is fine.
Do that in the US, and we'll just end up with blue collar wage slaves instead of white collar ones.
The whole reason student loans are so broken right now is because they cannot be dismissed, so lenders are incentivized to lend with reckless abandon. In the worst case scenario the loan converts into a lifetime rent on an individual that automatically adjusts for inflation. On the other hand, the idea behind creating special rules for student loans is easy to see. By removing any risk in lending, that 'reckless abandon in lending' removes any real up front financial barrier to education and investing in your society's education is as good as investing in your society.
The problem here is people are then using this to get degrees that are more recreational than productive. In high school kids are taught that the key to a good life is to get a college degree. And so many people, who are otherwise unmotivated or unambitious, simply choose easy and interesting degrees. The 'soft' degrees absolutely have a purpose, but a person coming from no means choosing to major in a soft degree is not going to meaningfully change their expected earnings. All they're going to do is remain a person of no means who is now also deep in debt that can never be dismissed.
So the idea is to maintain the current system, but restrict lending just to degrees that are statistically likely to 'substantially' effect a student's expected earnings. When you remove the illusion of 'any degree is fine' you start to bring the connection between education and earnings back to reality. And you also push students towards a path of greater capability which is not only good for themselves, but also for the nation as a whole.
The choice of which degrees to fund has to be made on either past data or some sort of current fad. The list of preferred degrees will of course create competition to get into those programs, but it may also encourage colleges to create watered-down or even fake disciplines that can absorb more students.
Hypothetical example: Assuming that computer science is on the "hot list," a low-tier college creates a fluff degree in Computer Technology Studies, that gains access to loan money but leads to marginal employment prospects.
Closer to home, the K-12 schools in my locale have a new program that creates career tracks at the high school level. The first track that has become available is health care. Granted, it sounds like a good idea, what can possibly go wrong?
Another cool feature is that this further aligns the motivation of schools (who greatly benefit from 'reckless lending') and students. Reckless lending is only possible when the degrees being pursued are provably valuable.
Also, you can't just switch on college majors by switching on funding. The pipeline for some fields is years, for instance arguably for math intensive fields, or some performing arts such as playing the bassoon.
Here are the majors you can study. I hope you got interested in math 10 years ago, or learned to play the bassoon.
You can cut the word "planned". Evidence shows that this is a natural part of economies with pretty well understood reasons related to the credit cycle.
Maybe we could have universities run more traditionally trade school type programs as well as liberal arts, stem, art, and music curriculums? That way the philosophy students have the opportunity to take a class in engine repair and the students in the electrician's school can likewise take a class in Computer Aided Design or Astronomy Lab.
The problem is that the market can only take so many plumbers, electricians and tin-knockers before their pay falls off a cliff. I expect that this would occur long before the wage gap is actually closed. Moreover many trades are still unionized and resistant to new entrants.
I think that schools should focus more on getting the basics right. Most of us here on HN have enjoyed a priviledged journey through good to elite schooling. The sad reality is that in large swathes of the country high school education has become a shit-show with reprecussions that will last decades.
While it is good to continue to offer votech programs, I think that schools should just make literacy a priority. If you think that's 'aiming low' you haven't seen what goes on in schools today.
My other sister went for a psychology major and has since worked service jobs.
I went to a small trade school for "Application Development" circa 2005 that has since gone under.
They really got an undeserved bad rap, like a lot of for profit schools lately. I genuinely feel I received a quality education readying me for working in the industry. I had what I would consider some of the best educators of my life and lots of one on one time with them.
I know a handful of my classmates didn't really take it very seriously and the army was paying for them to be there, but honestly it's lead me into a career I enjoy and allowed me to earn more than I ever imagined.
At the same time, this seems to be suggesting that anyone could be doing a trade school type of education instead of college, while to me it seems that is is the lower entry into any form of education. If college equals trade school, then college in the USA needs to up it's game.
Learning a trade is only useful up to a point. As others have posted, there is no point in having 100 million machinists all being very capable of re-manufacturing tower crane gearboxes. Even a million would not make any sense. There is also a limit to what you can do with your time. While you don't need to be a millionaire to be happy, the limit to what you can earn is comparatively low when you are working at the practical side of things vs. what steering/planning/administrating and up can earn.
This does not mean that trade school is by definition 'stupid' and if you don't go to college or university (or is that the same in the USA?) you are therefore not smart, but it does limit your capabilities, at least in terms of growth. Now, if you are comfortable with a trade, if it gets you what you want, there would be no point in going to college. At the same time, if college is too hard, and learning beyond basic literacy and mathematics is not an option, you might be stuck at trade level.
One of the bigger problems with 'trade' or 'labour' type of skill is that it often is very limited in abstracted transferrable knowlegde. What if the way some thing are done are replaced. Say you are very good at cleaning chimneys, that's great, but nobody needs your skills. Or what if you are very good at shining shoes. Or driving horse carriages. Or digging holes and putting down outhouses. This is the same for most of the current trade type of work, it is only useful as long as people need you, and when they don't you can't really go do something else because you don't have the theory behind what you were doing to re-implement it somewhere else.
According my experience (I used to help my father during work peaks) I think that we arrived here because ALL talent is nowadays directed to academia. To complicate the situation this is not easily undone, once people get used to be intellectually challenged they see trades as a terribly boring job. And don't forget the stigma..
People go to college because they dream of getting paid for sitting on their asses. Manual labour is for proles!
If we frame the question as, 'what is the most efficient way to train people with directly salable skills', then college is inefficient and probably not the best solution.
But if the question is, 'how do we best prepare people for life, including critical thinking and knowledge about the world, and to improve our society', college blows away any trade school. Four years spent studying the leading thinkers, thinking, and critical approaches in a diverse array of fields, tutored by leading experts, is an incredible way to sharpen your mind, knowledge, and critical thought. Also, as most in IT realize, learning specific skills in IT is far less valuable over the long run than learning theory which then can be applied even as technology changes. Consider the liberal arts as the 'theory' of other fields.
Many people on one hand bemoan the political situation, the ignorance, and the inability to discern propaganda from fact; while on the other hand they dismiss liberal arts as useless. The latter has developed, almost precisely, as the solution to the former. Society doesn't just work; we need to advance it, which requires understanding the world, its problems and their solutions. These are very hard problems, and learning Java or physics won't solve them.
It is. How many people actually get that when they go to college?
(More than get it in trade school, sure. But if that's the promise of college, I'm not sure that college delivers all that well...)
I tend to think that anyone who wants to do it can do it; they only have to work hard enough.
> Manufacturing employment has fallen in both countries, yet in Germany, manufacturing's value added has stayed around 22 percent in the last 20 years.
So Germany has done well even before the age of AI. But are they well prepared for the AI disruption?
Because currently the article seems to be relying on past data from Germany to predict a future solution.
In 1995-1996, US and German GDP per capita were almost equal, at $30,000 to $31,000. Today the US is about 40% higher.
US manufacturing has grown substantially over that time. The vast gains in productivity are precisely the cause of the employment plunge in manufacturing. Real manufacturing output is up 78% since 1991.
Germany has maintained its outsized manufacturing export base in part through high degrees of protectionism and riding an artificially cheap currency (cheap for Germany, not for Spain, Portugal, Italy or Greece), to the detriment of Eurozone rivals.
Likewise GDP (even PPP) does not matter if it is distributed highly unequally. You get a handful of people with huge economic power, that's it.
Albeit in the case of Germany you're somewhat right (protectionism mostly designed to force manufacturing to happen locally), US productivity has not brought improved living standards where it should have.
The fact of the matter is we're going to need widespread adult re-education, and the current four-years-at-18 model is woefully inadequate for the future that we can all see coming. In fact, the future that's here. Why can't I be prepared for a job in 6 months or one year? Can I take just the part of a college education that helps me be skilled?
IMO the blue collar jobs of the future will be many of the white collar jobs of today. I actually include "coding" in that. Relatively simple programming is something most people can learn to do relatively quickly, provides immediate value, and has rising demand (even the code bootcamps flooding the market still, somehow, leave huge gaps).
My company, Lambda School, (shameless plug, I suppose - YC S17 https://lambdaschool.com) is trying to solve some tiny portion of that by providing a live, online, skills-based education and job placement program that's completely free until you get a job. Soon it will be available entirely after hours. We've literally seen students go from applying at McDonalds to six-figure job offers; not because we're the best teachers in the world, but because they were already smart enough to become that person, they'd just never been given that opportunity, and for very practical reasons four years of college and expensive student loans were out of the question.
But we're still relatively expensive, still at the higher-skill-level-but-more-difficult end, and we can only cover a tiny portion of the market. In the next 10 years I hope there will be a booming industry of college alternatives that can get people placed, so long as they're not crushed by licensing and regulation (neither of which I think are a bad thing in proper amounts).
If you can move people from unemployed or minimum wage to regular living wage, the value created in that movement is enough that you can take a piece and everyone is way better off, and the cost of doing so is orders of magnitude less than college costs now. I really think we're going to enter a golden age of educational innovation, because the current system is broken enough folks are looking elsewhere. I would love to see someone do that at a serious kind of scale for high-paying trades: plumbing, welding, etc.
Something like Lambda schools may well be the answer - if you can scale it. (You say you can only cover a tiny portion of the market. What scaling problems do you face?)
What I think is really needed, long term, is something like an accredited institution that acts like a clearing house. You want a BS in CS? You need to cover at least this much material. Among the classes will be, say, advanced algorithms. For advanced algorithms, we recognize any one of this set of online classes as valid. That way, with the clearinghouse, you can get a degree that the wider world will recognize, purely online, from a variety of sources.
Unfortunately, old industries tend toward new "talent" + degree in something cool sounding in hopes of disruptive "yahtzee". they, or at least mine, largely ignore the ones who know the business rules/needs the most in gavor of who "should know the future best". Oops.
I went to a vocational high school myself, and many people wound up going to college instead, as maybe half the trades didn't have much of a future. And keep in mind, there were a LOT of tradespeople thrown out of work in the 90s in my area due to military budget cuts, too; many skilled tradesmen tend to piggyback on defense or government spending, which is not sustainable.
Dumping a whole bunch of people into a system already at close to optimum employment will not benefit workers.
Optimum employment? When someone wants to get a project built in Portland Oregon the wait time this past year was about 3 months until you were lucky enough to land a contractor. Contractors can't find enough skilled help so everything takes longer.
No, contractors can't find enough CHEAP skilled help.
If there is an actual shortage, wages will rise sufficiently to pull people into the field or cause people to move around to fill the holes.
The fact that these slots are not being filled says that they aren't paying enough NOT that there is a shortage.
This is honestly less of a wage increase than, say, computer programming, over that time period (see BLS data, 2010 https://web.archive.org/web/20120401201347/https://www.bls.g... vs 2016 https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/...).
But it is certainly better than, say, the modest 9% average increase in wages for cashiers and retail workers (2010 -- https://web.archive.org/web/20120409173908/http://www.bls.go... vs 2016 -- https://www.bls.gov/ooh/sales/home.htm).
(Pity the poor modeling occupation, pay has actually decreased 33% during this time period).
Generally speaking, I still see a fair bit of "college premium" in the BLS data -- I would think it would be incorrect to interpret the headline advice overly broadly. However, I do think it's true that not all college degrees are equal, and that some vocational degrees might work out better as ROI goes.
"Trade school degrees" is also quite a broad term. For some reason, the construction trades are emphasized on HN when this topic comes up, but it's worth pointing out that "trade school degrees" also include occupations like some medical careers (nursing, dental hygiene, technicians), police and fire services, paralegals, and plenty of other career paths with fairly bright prospects as of now. The BLS shows growth rate in plumbing to be faster than average, but the same goes for RNs and paralegals.
Trade schools are much cheaper than college. In addition, we don’t have enough trained craftsmen.
(I'm being facetious devil advocate here.)
There won't be more competition in the short term because still, only 3% of graduating high school students are even considering a career in the trades. It's going to take quite a while for the ship to turn around.
I don't know much about macroeconomics, so maybe this is a silly question.
After education, there are 7 electricians. The same 5 electricians still make $40/hour, but the two new electricians make $25/hour. Turns out there's a previously unserved market for a cheaper and less experienced electrician.
(I'm not sure about the specifics of whether everyone's wages go down or the two new electrician's can't find work, but for the purposes of an anecdote it doesn't matter.)
But in the bigger picture this will be a feedback signal to the next class of electricians and they will decide whether to stick with electrician school or look for some other demand gap to fill.
There's a lot of demand for the blue collar equivalent of CRUD apps that isn't met because there are no "cheap" blue collar professionals around.
A lot of people would be willing to pay a plumber to fix their sink, an electrician to replace a light fixture with a ceiling fan or a welder to build hand railings if there were more options for those services that fell between "licensed, insured and too expensive for you" and "questionable quality, affordable prices and nowhere to be found it it breaks"
That said, its really hard to find reliable trades people there. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, Etc. My typical experience is that if I manage to find one, after a short while they are over booked with demand. And Vegas has a fairly low cost of living (low rents and house prices) so it would seem that folks who are getting all the work they can handle are doing well.
Unlike college, becoming an apprentice electrician isn't terribly costly or time consuming. People climb that mountain all the time on their own dime. The problem is that they run back down once they see the view.
Electrical work is hard, stressful, and sometimes dangerous. Jam a bunch of innocent kids through trade school instead of college, and we'll probably still have a shortage of electricians.
Most MEs I know bill everything out between $90 and $130 per hour during normal business hours. Apprentice is usually getting around $35 per hour. Apprentice has to work for years to become a master.
If you mean demand for labor, that's an entirely different beast.
First, it can be wise for you. There's a lot of money to be made in filling that gap.
Second, though, it can be wise for society. That gap is growing because there aren't enough people going into that area to keep up with demand. That is, society needs more people doing that. It can help society function to have people meet that need.
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