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    Default college versus trades

    I'd like to get the members opinions on a topic I find important. I recently posted on another platform a statement from Mike Rowe saying "Not every child will become a lawyer or a doctor. Teach your kids that it is okay to work with your hands and build cool stuff." I totally agree with this statement and thought I would share it. As of yesterday it has received 16,000 views,409 "likes" and 7 comments,ALL POSITIVE. Except 1. This person, who carries the title of 'Rehabilitation Manager", states that" college is more than just job prep" and 'with so many boys opting out, it is wrong to present this as be a doctor or be an electrician.The only reason trades pay as well as college degree wages is because they are male dominated,unionized and friendly with politicians"
    Does this persons attitude sound like someone very out of touch with reality or is it just me. It sounds to me as if you don't have a college degree you are therefore a knuckle dragging neanderthal unworthy of breathing the same air as this person.
    I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.

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    I think if a person can qualify for an occupation that they truly enjoy and that provides for their financial needs without a college education, then 'college or not' doesn't even enter into the equation. There are a whole bunch of trades where the level of education and training is equal to or exceeds university-style but it is entirely focused on the specific field. As a bonus, you'd miss all the progressive bullshit propagated at the so-called 'institutions of higher learning' in the US these days. Don't know about other countries.

    For thirty-six years I held a job that I loved, that paid well and that was mentally stimulating as well as challenging at times. I hold a few technical or trade-related certificates but I don't have the coveted 'degree'. Never missed it, never cared, and never will.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swamp dweller View Post
    I'd like to get the members opinions on a topic I find important. I recently posted on another platform a statement from Mike Rowe saying "Not every child will become a lawyer or a doctor. Teach your kids that it is okay to work with your hands and build cool stuff." I totally agree with this statement and thought I would share it. As of yesterday it has received 16,000 views,409 "likes" and 7 comments,ALL POSITIVE. Except 1. This person, who carries the title of 'Rehabilitation Manager", states that" college is more than just job prep" and 'with so many boys opting out, it is wrong to present this as be a doctor or be an electrician.The only reason trades pay as well as college degree wages is because they are male dominated,unionized and friendly with politicians"
    Does this persons attitude sound like someone very out of touch with reality or is it just me. It sounds to me as if you don't have a college degree you are therefore a knuckle dragging neanderthal unworthy of breathing the same air as this person.
    I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.
    "if you don't have a college degree you are therefore a knuckle dragging neanderthal unworthy of breathing the same air as this person." That seems to be the opinon of some of the elites who post on PM.

    Seriously....Each person has to follow their dreams to some extent but balancing the dreams bit with figuring out if it will pay the bills. Can be confusing and a challenge and fraught with false starts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by swamp dweller View Post
    It sounds to me as if you don't have a college degree you are therefore a knuckle dragging neanderthal unworthy of breathing the same air as this person.
    I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thanks.
    You'd be surprised as to just how many people believe that statement wholeheartedly. It's as if that's the mentality that is taught to high school kids. There are a lot of people out there that love to tout that they are "educated" as if it means they are better than those that didn't attend a college for 4 years.

    I always tell these people that a college degree doesn't mean that you're smart or intelligent, it just means that you have a piece of paper that says you went to college for 4 years.

    Trade skills aren't for everyone and personally I'd like to see more of it taught in colleges around the country and to high levels so that when I interview people they already have hands on experience, which could be a double edged sword because they might have picked up some bad habits from the teacher.

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    It's tough enough to start a career without having thousands of dollars of student loan debt. Around here there is a real shortage of tradesmen. I have a good friend who owns a sheet metal shop. They do about two and a half million dollars worth of work a year. He is offering thirty dollars an hour to start with full benefits and he can't get anyone to work. He needs seventeen workers and he has only been able to get six in the last five months.

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    First off, Mike Rowe is the man.

    That said, the naysayer is, in my opinion, missing the difference between correlation and causation. Male-dominated is true of, say, plumbing as a trade. No arguments there. But this same person would (presumably) gladly pay $110/hr+ for a plumber to come out on sunday evening to make the burst pipe stop flooding their house. Maybe they should hold off on the repair until they can find a female plumber next time, I wonder what she'll charge.

    Education itself is nothing more than a means to gain knowledge and skills. Universities are a good place to get that in a lot of categories like math, biology, sociology and social work (my wife), or engineering (myself). Note that my wife has two subjects listed, that's because she's got the fancy pants master's degree. Didn't help her too much compared to my BS degree, I was making almost twice as much as her when she got her job at the school. It's a simple equation of value, and it's actually separate from education:

    The jobs that require the most empathy pay the least
    The jobs that require the least empathy pay the most

    If we can puzzle that one out, maybe we can start chipping away at the "wage gap" because all the women are social workers and all the men are engineers. I can tell you that both jobs take skill, knowledge, and hard work. But engineers are in high demand because they can directly leverage their skills to sell shit. Social workers are there to make small but meaningful changes to a struggling person's life so they can make something more for themselves. It's much less visible, but no less important.

    I feel like I'm getting away from the topic, but whenever I see "male-dominated" as a cause of something it makes me want to rant about correlations to alternate causations.

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    Quote Originally Posted by standardparts View Post
    "if you don't have a college degree you are therefore a knuckle dragging neanderthal unworthy of breathing the same air as this person." That seems to be the opinon of some of the elites who post on PM.

    Seriously....Each person has to follow their dreams to some extent but balancing the dreams bit with figuring out if it will pay the bills. Can be confusing and a challenge and fraught with false starts.
    Who are these "elites who post on PM"? Or is this another "people are saying" thing like you are used using when you make stuff up.

    Please name some names as to who the elites are. I'm pretty sure you aren't talking about me as I don't hold a degree, just a certificate from the USDOL as an apprentice graduate and various certificates of training.

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    It's interesting that the more useful college degrees are generally "trade school".

    Engineers..... Clearly trade school, if you step back and think about it.

    Doctors.... same thing, no doubt

    Lawyers... more of the same.

    MBA..... yep

    Most of those degrees will do pretty well.

    Then you have "English Literature", "History", "psychology", and a host of others. They are NOT a "trade school degree".

    And, those degrees do not "qualify" a person for anything in particular. They are "general education", and for jobs that are stated to require a "college degree" to be considered, they permit the HR department to consider the person. But, most cannot expect to do as well as the "trade school" type college degree.

    What they are, is maybe a steppingstone to an MBA program, or law school. In other words, a way to get into a "trade school". Otherwise, unless you want to be a professor, they are not that actually "useful" however interesting they may be to a person.

    The determinant of what a person is paid is often, but clearly not universally, how useful the job they do is. If it were always true, garbage collectors would be quite well paid.

    But almost any form of trade school is likely to do better than a "general education" type degree, when the student debt issue is figured in.

    Nothing stops a plumber from learning history, or theoretical physics, for that matter, if they are interested.

    And, remember one thing: You cannot outsource plumbing repairs to china.

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    I think it's even more important to consider the trades today, as the ROI on college ain't what it used to be. Up front debt is a real killer of dreams and happiness.

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    Hi swamp dweller:
    You wrote:
    This person, who carries the title of 'Rehabilitation Manager", states that" college is more than just job prep" and 'with so many boys opting out, it is wrong to present this as be a doctor or be an electrician.The only reason trades pay as well as college degree wages is because they are male dominated,unionized and friendly with politicians"

    Yeah, this clown is blowing smoke, and it's a troubling sign that so many are swayed by this sort of shit.
    Here's my take on education, taken from another post I wrote recently:

    "Hi jhov:
    Interesting points about formal education you bring up.
    I can speak on the subject with some experience; I too spent many years in university.

    I spent 3 years toward a BFA in art history...utterly useless and was mostly a circle jerk but it DID have cute girls in it and I got laid, so it wasn't totally wasted.

    I spent another three years to get a BSc in physiology...better, but still not very practical.
    At least I did learn something about how our bodies work and a bit about critical thinking.

    I did 2 years of medical school...fucking meat grinder that cared more about whether you survived it than whether you learned anything.
    I did a degree in dentistry (and actually finished it)...better than medicine but not much.

    When I graduated from dental school and went out into the working world, I and all of my fellow graduates were fucking menaces, some better, some worse.
    Those that didn't kill someone in the first years gradually learned the ropes and a few became excellent dentists I can recommend with confidence.
    The rest are hacks of varying levels of competence...they can be graded on a bell curve, just like anything else involving humans.

    I also did an apprenticeship as a toolbreaker (plastic injection molds), and it was a FAR more practical education with a much smaller proportion of wank in it, and almost all of that was at...you guessed it, apprenticeship school, where the exam questions covered such useless topics as the tooth count on a bastard cut file, and the CORRECT complement of gauge blocks to make a 1.032" gauge block stack."


    It speaks more to the utility of it all, which, of course is not the same as its power to impress, and sadly, in this society, the power to impress correctly leveraged can still net you a helluva lot more cash, but it seems your willingness to be a dick, unconstrained by any sense of decency is an even more powerful tool...you just have to be willing to be a dick, so by that logic, fuck the university and the degree...learn to be the biggest dick on the block.

    Sadly, rags like "The Economist" deride the trades as occupied by "metal bashers" to which my inclination is to respond with a "fuck you and the horse you rode in on", but that's not a very useful way to fight the fight.

    Instilling the confidence to pursue that which interests you and absorbs you rather than tolerating that which will net you the most cash is a hard lesson to learn when your buddies are driving Mercedes and you are driving used Ford, but I made the choice and it was a good choice for me in the long term.
    I have no regrets at all, especially when I take my dentist buddies out for lunch and all they can do is bitch about their sad, boring little lives.

    Another tidbit from my life experience that is more apropos to your question:
    My kid is a computer geek
    He was triggered to take it up by a high school teacher...he loved that teacher and loved the challenge of learning that stuff too.
    He started university in computer science with high expectations but dropped out after two years...the regimented cookie cutter learning seemed pointless to him.

    ALL his university friends said he was a failure...he'd NEVER amount to anything.
    He beat himself up pretty good for a couple of years and then he found his place in a company that loved his unorthodox approach to computing and craved what he has (he can make all kinds of software talk to each other that's not supposed to be able to because he mucked around with it so much as a kid).

    All these sniffy "friends" of his...well they make less than HALF of what he makes, and they're jealous as hell.

    Stories like this one are a reassuring testimony to the enduring value of creativity, and that comes in spite of the university degree, not because of it.
    There are PLENTY of supremely talented and creative individuals in the trades...no less than any other profession.

    Cheers

    Marcus
    Implant Mechanix • Design & Innovation > HOME
    Vancouver Wire EDM -- Wire EDM Machining

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    Quote Originally Posted by crossthread View Post
    It's tough enough to start a career without having thousands of dollars of student loan debt. Around here there is a real shortage of tradesmen. I have a good friend who owns a sheet metal shop. They do about two and a half million dollars worth of work a year. He is offering thirty dollars an hour to start with full benefits and he can't get anyone to work. He needs seventeen workers and he has only been able to get six in the last five months.
    Yup, the struggle to find good help is a huge issue with every owner of a company that I know.

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    I've seen people who can tear an engine apart and put it back together, struggle in school, and I have seen book smart guys struggle in the shop and just cannot grasp common sense, but they can tell you how molecule's work.
    The beauty of the human species is that we are all different. Every aspect for a child's future should be presented to him or her and they should be allowed to seek out what they feel is right for them. Just my opinion, if you look down your nose at a tradesman or a college educated man, then you're just being a bigot.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big B View Post
    Who are these "elites who post on PM"? Or is this another "people are saying" thing like you are used using when you make stuff up.

    Please name some names as to who the elites are. I'm pretty sure you aren't talking about me as I don't hold a degree, just a certificate from the USDOL as an apprentice graduate and various certificates of training.
    Seek help.

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    I just have the sneaking suspicion that the person who wrote that comment is just a radical thinker. They're taking a concept and stretching it several steps ahead of itself in order to find something to be angry about. Some of their thinking is based on truth/reality, while some is stretched a little thin and most likely heavily based on personal bias.

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    I spent a year in college with a goal of electrical engineer, but I was not prepared for college level study habits. I then spent 2 years at DeVry Electronics School and loved it. I held a First Class Radiotelephone License with a Radar Endorsement, and retired from IBM after 33 years of customer hardware service from card equipment to large water cooled mainframe computers. I was assigned to a large IBM customer's world headquarters for 14 years servicing their data center. Many of us there had children leaving high school and they were deciding which life path to follow. Chemical engineers were in demand in the 80s and many indicated that their children were going to go into that field. I asked if their child liked chemistry. The answer was that is where the money is. If one finds something you enjoy and can make a living doing that, it never seems like work.

    I have a number of hobbies that I really enjoy. Unfortunately none of them make enough money to live on, but seem to consume money. Forty years ago I added blacksmithing to the list of hobbies that I enjoy. In blacksmithing I discovered that there is a certain joy and satisfaction in making things that I believe is difficult to achieve any other way. Also I have come to appreciate the skill and abilities of those craftsmen of the last one and a half century who built this country.

    I believe that a college education is much overrated today for many young folks. Each must decide their path in life after careful study.

    Bob
    WB8NQW

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    The bottom line is....
    Do what you love to do, and you will never WORK a day in your life!

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    I think that the pushing of kids to college is all money driven, by the education system. The schools are telling kids that they wont get anywhere in life without a college degree. Back when I was in grade school they said we needed a HS diploma to get ahead in life. Then in HS they were telling us that we would need at least an Associates Degree, then it turned to a Bachelors degree. Now around here I am hearing that they are pushing Masters and PHD programs. The kids all go to school and generate massive amounts of debt, that the government holds. The colleges get paid no matter what, even for useless degrees. As we call them the "You want fries with that" degrees. If the colleges had to hold the notes on the loans and turn out graduates with useful, employable degrees so that they could be paid back, I think they would be more selective about what they offer and to who. The schools might then steer more kids towards Vo-Tech and trade schools. Our Vo-Tech HS here is turning out certified mechanics, welders, plumbers, etc. that are usually getting hired before they finish their Senior year with great wages. It is the attitudes that have to change, back to what was common in this country 60 years ago, that it is not demeaning to work with your hands and then maybe we can bring USA manufacturing back.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MilGunsmith View Post
    I think that the pushing of kids to college is all money driven
    100% correct.

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    Exchange college degree with education.
    It is my belief that everyone should obtain the strongest education they can and add to that continually throughout life.

    I would go so far as to say to be an educated informed person is a responsibility we all carry to participate in society.

    That said- folks differ widely in their interests aptitude and drive.
    We are not all the same and there a goodly number of people who would wash out of some degree programs and some programs which wash out just about everyone.

    All fields are something like this.
    There are plenty of folk in trades work who honestly have no aptitude for the work.
    They might be trainable for a specific task but they are never going to run the show.

    It is often said- use your god given talents.
    I’d add there is not much to be gained by comparing yourself to others,
    You have your strengths and they theirs.
    And..
    Should you run into the types who lord their station in life over you don’t play ball.
    That is their failing not yours.

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    Another thought occurs- we tend to think in terms of college or trade school or experience, followed by some job or jobs you do forever. The fact is, some of us change over the years. When I was college age, I had little interest or ability in math or business. Now that I'm older, I have much more interest in math and analysis. With interest seems to come ability. We should recognize that we may not be doing the same thing forever!

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