At an economic forum at the White House yesterday, CEOs of a number of companies told President Trump that they are hiring an increasing percentage of workers who do not have college degrees.
Apple and Lockheed Martin both stated that about half their hires last year did not have degrees, while IBM noted that there are strong opportunities for people without degrees.
This is good news for people who choose paths other than college, such as training and employment in the skilled trades. In fact, the skilled trades represent large, unfilled employment opportunities with often high salaries. Adecco has an infographic showing the demand for these trades here, and celebrity Mike Rowe has been on the forefront of calling attention to what he calls the “skills gap” through his Mike Rowe Works Foundation. The “skills gap” is simply the fact that there is much demand by employers for people to fill positions in the trades, but not enough people to fill them; this is due to the prevailing emphasis on college as the only path for economic advancement and personal fulfillment after high school.
However, given that the graduation rate for people who attempt college is only about 60% and that there are great opportunities for people in the skilled trades, this illustrates the fact that many people’s calling lies not in pursuing college degrees, but rather in seeking vocational training for these trades.
The world needs people involved in trades, and America needs to better appreciate that these are honorable professions that are necessary to the life of our world. The path to vocational fulfillment has many branches: some go to college, some pursue the skilled trades. The point the CEOs are making is that there are wonderful opportunities for everyone on all these branches because all are needed for our society and economy to function and grow.