Ex­cused ab­sence: 6 rea­sons you don’t have to go to col­lege

The Fresno Bee (Sunday) - - Job Market - — Marco Buscaglia, Ca­reers

We hear it all the time: “Going to col­lege isn’t for ev­ery­one.” But it’s usu­ally said as con­so­la­tion, a re­sponse to a frus­trated par­ent who can’t un­der­stand why their son or daugh­ter doesn’t want to fol­low in their aca­demic foot­steps. But in 2019 and for the fore­see­able fu­ture, not going to col­lege is far from some­thing de­serv­ing of pity. Of course, we’d never knock the im­por­tance of crit­i­cal think­ing and ex­po­sure to ideas dif­fer­ent from your own but those skills and ex­pe­ri­ences can come from other en­deav­ors, like read­ing or trav­el­ing. Here are six rea­sons why you don’t have to go to col­lege:

1. You know you

Sit­ting in a class­room, lis­ten­ing to lec­tures? Not your thing. Nei­ther is home­work, group projects or long­wind­ing dis­cus­sions with no right or wrong po­si­tions. What is for you, though, is hands-on train­ing, the op­por­tu­nity to learn un­der a men­tor, work­ing out­side, work­ing with your hands, mak­ing money right away, getting into the fam­ily busi­ness or a plethora of other rea­sons you’re not going to en­ter any hal­lowed halls any time soon. And most im­por­tantly, you’re OK with it.

2. En­ergy op­tions

If you’re look­ing for an oc­cu­pa­tion that’s pre­dicted to in­crease in need over the next 10 years, con­sider a job in re­new­able en­ergy. While the over­all in­crease in jobs may be small in com­par­i­son to other in­dus­tries, the U.S. Depart­ment of La­bor’s Bureau of La­bor Statis­tics says the na­tion’s in­creased in­ter­est in re­new­able en­ergy will re­sult in in­creased de­mands for so­lar pho­to­voltaic in­stall­ers, ex­pected to in­crease 63 per­cent by 2028, and wind tur­bine tech­ni­cians, ex­pected to grow by 57 per­cent dur­ing that same time pe­riod.

3. Tech doesn’t judge

In an ar­ti­cle for Techcrunch.com, S. So­masegar, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor at Madrona Ven­ture Group, and Daniel Li, an in­vestor with Madrona Ven­ture Group, wrote that any com­pany — no mat­ter what they pro­duce — can re­think how it does busi­ness in a tech­nol­ogy-first world by em­pha­siz­ing tech­nol­ogy. And while po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees with ad­vanced tech de­grees carry a lot of weight, so do those nim­ble, think-on­the-fly, cre­ative up­starts who are too busy work­ing on new apps to even en­ter­tain the thought of a col­lege de­gree. “Tal­ent is the key as­set. … Equip­ment is rentable and servers are plen­ti­ful. What isn’t al­ways read­ily avail­able is tal­ent.”

4. Man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs

John More­house, di­rec­tor of the Cen­ter of In­no­va­tion for Man­u­fac­tur­ing for the state of Ge­or­gia’s Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, says high school grad­u­ates would be wise to take a look at jobs in the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, point­ing out that there will be ca­reers avail­able to those work­ers who can op­er­ate at a high level us­ing var­i­ous skills. “As man­u­fac­tur­ers stream­line pro­duc­tion and im­prove qual­ity, they’ll need peo­ple with 21st-cen­tury skills which they can use to cre­ate a sta­ble, long-last­ing ca­reer,” More­house says.

It’s that “sta­ble, long-last­ing” part that More­house wants to go vi­ral. “Th­ese are well-pay­ing jobs — jobs you can use to build a strong fu­ture,” he says.

But long-held per­cep­tions of man­u­fac­tur­ing jobs — back-break­ing ac­tiv­ity, dan­ger­ous en­vi­ron­ments, un­sta­ble work — by both high school stu­dents and their par­ents can be the en­emy of the in­dus­try. “Stud­ies show the need for skilled work­ers and it’s not going away,” says More­house. “We’re talk­ing about re­ward­ing work that doesn’t have to come home with you. And you can earn a good salary — money to buy a house, go on va­ca­tion

— if you can see through the old per­cep­tion and in­stead look at th­ese jobs for what they ac­tu­ally are — strong, in­ter­est­ing, sta­ble jobs that can pro­vide a per­son the means for a great life.”

5. Health-care jobs

And relentless­ly, we might add. Sure, it would be great to be­come a doc­tor but that re­quires years of school, ex­pe­ri­ence and stu­dent-loan pay­ments. But there are nu­mer­ous jobs in health care, and the large ma­jor­ity of th­ese gigs—in­clud­ing many with long-term stability — re­quire an as­so­ciate de­gree or spe­cific cer­ti­fi­ca­tion. And for those who break out in a cold sweat over the thought of en­ter­ing a class­room, don’t worry. Most of the re­quired classes are usu­ally a far cry from an anx­i­ety-in­duc­ing se­mes­ter of Psy­chol­ogy 101 in a lec­ture hall.

In­stead, they’re usu­ally hands-on ex­pe­ri­ences that mix learn­ing with prac­ti­cal work, moving stu­dents along in ways that main­tain their in­ter­est and pre­pare them for their real-world jobs. Some po­ten­tial health-care jobs in­clude den­tal as­sis­tants, den­tal hy­gien­ists, mas­sage ther­a­pists, med­i­cal billing and cod­ing spe­cial­ists, phle­botomists, med­i­cal coders, sur­gi­cal tech­nol­o­gists, ul­tra­sound tech­ni­cians and med­i­cal lab tech­ni­cians.

6. Power up

Op­por­tu­ni­ties are avail­able in var­i­ous fields for both men and women but those high school grad­u­ates look­ing to be­come elec­tri­cians es­pe­cially may find them­selves on a steady, thor­ough path to job se­cu­rity. The de­mand for in­stalling, main­tain­ing and re­pair­ing elec­tri­cal sys­tems in res­i­den­tial and com­mer­cial struc­tures con­tin­ues to be in de­mand.

In­creased in­ter­est in re­new­able en­ergy will re­sult in de­mand for so­lar pho­to­voltaic in­stall­ers, ex­pected to in­crease 63 per­cent by 2028.

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