mead berger shevtsova garfinkle michta grygiel blankenhorn bayles
Theresa May Says:
You Shouldn’t Need to Go to College to Get a Good Job

Prime Minister Theresa May has unveiled a big investment program aimed at increasing the accessibility of technical training in the UK. Inside Higher Education reports:

The British government has announced a 170 million pound ($213 million) series of prestigious Institutes of Technology are to be developed to offer a “credible alternative” to the academic route of university for young people.

As part of Prime Minister Theresa May’s industrial strategy unveiled this week, technical education will get a radical shake-up to “level the playing field” for those who do not go to university. […]

A senior government source reportedly said that May thought it was “unwise to force less academic pupils into the straitjacket of university, leaving them drowning in debt for the sake of a poor degree — particularly when we have a chronic shortage of British plumbers and engineers.”

The British higher education system is very different from America’s: cheaper, more heavily subsidized, and aimed at imparting more detailed knowledge in a specific area. But many of the challenges May’s governments is concerned about exist in the U.S. as well: High and rising debt levels, poor quality degrees, an unfair labor market advantage for students who had the opportunity to earn a BA, and a shortage of people competent perform high-paying technical jobs that don’t require a regular college degree.

Populist and reform-minded American politicians should take note of May’s effort. Many U.S. policymakers, especially on the Democratic side, are tempted to “increase access” to higher education by increasing subsidies for our existing system. But in many cases, that money would be better spent imparting highly valuable skills to young people who are not ready or simply not interested in grinding away for four years in the Ivory Tower after graduating from high school.

Features Icon
Features
show comments
  • ——————————

    “You Shouldn’t Need to Go to College to Get a Good Job”

    You don’t.
    College is mainly for the unmotivated, uncreative, and the societal brainwashed….

    • FriendlyGoat

      Somewhat true for people who can and do otherwise make it as entrepreneurs. Ditto professional baseball players. The problem is that such pathways cannot and do not exist for “most” people, by definition. There is a huge distinction between insisting that ANYONE can rise from modest educational circumstances and insisting that EVERYONE can.

      • ——————————

        “The problem is that such pathways cannot and do not exist for “most” people, by definition.”

        I disagree. I think there are plenty of paths if one wants to pursue them. The problem is that most are brainwashed by society to believe that going to college is the only answer to getting a job…and most employers brainwashed by society to believe that a college degree makes a better or smarter employee.

        I have never, and would never, hired someone with a college degree.

        • FriendlyGoat

          In many ways we are on the same page here. I wish most large employers were not so credential-focused. I wish fewer kids were getting into so much debt for degrees. And I have met MANY very smart and industrious people with high school only. It’s a certainty that many employers demand degrees when their employees might perform just as well (maybe even better in some cases) without them.

          But still, there is a reason why lifetime earnings on average are lower for people with the least levels of education. With the exception of some who make it big on entrepreneurism, the rest are simply capped on advancement in most organizations.

          • Ofer Imanuel

            As mentioned by some other comment here, the excessive credentialing is the result of Duke vs. Griggs, which disallowed IQ tests for employment, and made college degrees (and the prerequisite tests) into a proxy for them.

          • FriendlyGoat

            First of all, there is no particular reason to believe that IQ tests, per se, are predictive of how well people perform in jobs. Secondly, any practice by corporations which can be shown to have disparate (disparate) impacts on racial or ethnic segments of the population SHOULD be eliminated. I’m of the opinion that there is nothing wrong with the Duke vs. Griggs decision. It is not the reason why my grandfather was allowed to run a small bank (without being in family ownership of it) in 1954 but would not have a chance to do so anywhere today.

          • Ofer Imanuel

            Have you read “The Bell Curve”?

          • FriendlyGoat

            No.

          • ——————————

            Very true. Even serial killers can have a high IQ. College is not predictive either. The only way is to hire someone and give them good tools and work environment and see what they can do.

            Also, many ‘college’ jobs could be done with apprenticeships or minimal schooling that has education only for what is needed to do the job, dot dragged out for 4 years and a lot of useless info studied and then forgotten….

          • Anthony

            Something you’re definitely interested in and ties in with your exchange with semiotic (long read, so make some time): https://niskanencenter.org/blog/tale-two-moralities-part-one-regional-inequality-moral-polarization/

          • FriendlyGoat

            Thanks. That author has some decent gems, including:

            “The bad news is that the liberal-democratic capitalist welfare state and the so-called “neoliberal” global order is far and away the best humanity has ever done, and we’ve taken it for granted. We could very well trash it in a fit of pique, and wind up a middle-income kleptocracy boiling with civil strife and/or destabilize the global order in a way that ends in utter horror”.

            and

            “I’ll just say that the combined effects of technology and education are a big part of the story—much bigger than globalization. Declining manufacturing employment, which is without a doubt important to the question at hand, has much more to do with automation than offshoring.”

            and

            “It’s not just about decline in manufacturing employment and the lack of “good jobs” men happen to find suitably dignified, through it is partly about that. In any event, increasing joblessness entails a demoralizing loss of status and social esteem.”

            Lots more in there too, of course, but the fact that so many men are feeling their confidence and security slip-sliding away is a driver, I think, of why so many rural guys want to align themselves with a man who they share NOTHING in common with except a wish their lives were more like his.

            As an aside, I told my wife today that I am looking for ways to say good things about Donald Trump—-even though, and I told her this, most of them are going to be trivial. So, first of all, I’m glad he is almost ALWAYS in full suit. (I think he is going to change men’s fashion for the better.) Secondly, I’m glad he is calling lots of world leaders. Calling them is better than not—-no matter who they are.
            Thirdly, I read that The White House was hosting his family and some staff and their families today for the animated movie “Finding Dory.” I hope Donald actually watches it. The sensitivity factors in it are endearing and Ellen DeGeneris was brilliant as the starring voice. (Couldn’t have been Donald’s movie choice, maybe Melania’s, maybe Ivanka’s?)

          • Anthony

            You’re welcome and always find something good to say about The President (when appropriate). They come and go but the institution stays (hopefully). Also, the author has many gems and requires re-reading just to properly appreciate the coherence. Finally, I thought piece would aid understanding points of view we occasionally encounter at TAI and other venues.

          • FriendlyGoat

            Yes, and of course that piece was excellent too for its insights about demographics, the world cultural maps, and the differences in rural vs. urban observations on life.

          • Anthony

            We’ve always agreed you have both a fine eye and an insightful human appreciation!

          • FriendlyGoat

            Well, you do too. That’s why you send me good stuff from the other places you are visiting. I appreciate those.

          • Anthony

            Thank you.

          • ——————————

            “”The bad news is that the liberal-democratic capitalist welfare state and the so-called “neoliberal” global order is far and away the best humanity has ever done, and we’ve taken it for granted. We could very well trash it in a fit of pique, and wind up a middle-income kleptocracy boiling with civil strife and/or destabilize the global order in a way that ends in utter horror”.”

            The ‘Semiotic’ totally disagrees.
            It really sounds like some liberal drool written by a college boy….

          • FriendlyGoat

            Only those who take it for granted.

          • ——————————

            I also had a few family members who made it into upper management with HS, and even less. No you can’t do that today, and that is one of my issues.

            The country ran fine without all this college nonsense for many years, and now things are worse because of it.
            College is just another scam to squeeze money out of the the little guy and funnel it to the top….

    • Josephbleau

      college education is essential for the 10 percent of students who should attend. Who could be an engineer, doctor, mathematician, or scientist otherwise. The problem is that 50 percent of the kids want to go for the party and delayed adulthood. My father in law was in the ww2 program that put qualified enlisted men in colleges for an accelerated 2 year BS for tech fields but he left after 1.5 years and became a sgt because he did not want the stigma of being a college boy. Class was important then, it is important now.

      • ——————————

        “college education is essential for the 10 percent of students who should attend.”

        Even that is too high….

        • f1b0nacc1

          Likely the real number is closer to 5%, and I might be overshooting at that…

  • Disappeared4x

    How many good USA Vo-tech HS programs have been eliminated past 20 years by local school boards belief that everyone should aspire to college, and the future jobs of symbolic-analysts, thus creating ever-more voters for the Democrats, fewer pick-up driving deplorable plumbers.

    USA Vo-tech used to be entrenched in public high schools.
    Perhaps the Polish plumbers in UK should now emigrate to the USA.

  • TGates

    college is the new high school degree. Also, because of the way employment laws work, the easiest way to control hiring is to require a college degree. Cannot tell you how many adult students I have that say they are getting their degree because it is the only way they can get promoted in their existing job, most work for a local, state or federal agency, or move laterally. Higher Ed is the only arm in our society that can give IQ tests legally: SAT, ACT, GRE, MCAT, LSAT, GMAT, etc. My first employer made all of us give our SAT scores. Funny how hiring and compensation followed the higher scores. BTW, most large Corporations have formed their own in-house Universities to address skills not seeing from higher ed.

    • Josephbleau

      The BA is the new HS, I am waiting to see what academic inflation does to the PhD. Probably the same as the EdD. There will need to be a new social title between PhD, long Post Doc, and Professor.

  • Andrew Allison

    Since the list of factors which cannot be considered when hiring is already so long, why not add having a college degree? It’s obviously discriminatory, right?

    • f1b0nacc1

      That is, after all, how the whole mess got started in the first place (you know…my fixation with Duke v. Griggs)

      • Disappeared4x

        All the more reason to live with corgis. Totally off topic. T&C has a section on Royals. T45 hopes to play golf with QE2 at Balmoral, on his state visit this summer. Kept reading: QE2 might be taking in another corgi, from Jan 18, 2017:

        http://www.townandcountrymag.com/society/tradition/news/a9275/queen-elizabeth-gamekeeper-dogs/
        Jan 18, 2017 “It appears Queen Elizabeth isn’t quite finished with her corgis after all. Despite having said that she wouldn’t take on any more pets back in 2015, her majesty is reportedly considering adopting her late groundskeeper’s two dogs: a corgi and a Bichon Frise. …”

        • f1b0nacc1

          Now that is big news…well, big news for a corgi lover like me I suppose (grin)….

          A very close friend of mine was actually a visitor at Buckingham, and had the signal honor of being singled out for attention by the corgis. He described them as ‘land pirhanas’, but confirmed that they are extraordinarily cute (and spoiled).

          • Disappeared4x

            The significance of Queen Elizabeth II extending the invitation of a State Visit to President Trump, with the invitation personally delivered by PM May on Day 7 was a perfectly NORMAL act of ‘Heads of State diplomacy’.

            Even if the Queen’s corgis might be at risk if they do a ‘land pirhana’ on Trump while he is at Balmoral.

            Corgis are Adorables.

          • Andrew Allison

            Does that mean they vote Democrat [grin]

          • Disappeared4x

            ROFL. Dems do not recognize Adorables, a class which has zero Implicit Bias. But, if the Herding Dog classification is an Identity Group, corgis are most likely swing voters, because they do not qualify for affirmative action despite their shorter legs…Keebler’s Elfin’ Magic Corgi beat Shetland Sheep Dogs in the 12″ Agility competition.

            https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/5ce726158b8bf4dca2d90b87706b2057ac654f813c86848fc4c10fb6f9ee0599.jpg

            Corgis do not need space spaces!

          • f1b0nacc1

            Corgis are very, VERY smart dogs…they wouldn’t lower themselves to vote Dem!

          • f1b0nacc1

            Well, you know my theory….the Corgis are the *real* power behind the throne…

          • Disappeared4x

            Yes, I do. This time, etiquette might deflect the petition to preserve The Queen’s invitation, already accepted:

            “The government’s position is that an invitation has been extended to the President and it has been accepted,” Downing Street, the official residence of the prime minister, told CNBC.

            The petition stated that Trump’s entry into the United Kingdom would cause embarrassment to “Her Majesty the Queen.” …”

            “Trump-Queen Elizabeth II Meeting Update: Downing Street To Reject Petition With Over 1 Million Signatures?” By Pranshu Rathi @pranshurathi On 01/30/17 AT 7:50 AM
            http://www.ibtimes.com/trump-queen-elizabeth-ii-meeting-update-downing-street-reject-petition-over-1-million-2483212

            Ahh, petitions instead of street protests. Long live the Queen, and her corgis.

  • rheddles

    You Shouldn’t Need to Go to College to Get a Good Job

    You don’t need more than (what ought to be) an eighth grade education to do most jobs, good or bad.

  • I’ve been having trouble finding a job even with a undergraduate degree from a highly acclaimed private university (though it is a liberal arts major).

  • Boritz

    The workers of the future need green jobs. All else is conservative folly.

    • f1b0nacc1

      Only 20 milliblighters for that one

  • J K Brown

    I can imaging the hue and cry if Trump were to issue an executive order commanding that federal hiring follow the long existing law. That is, a degree or credential not directly related to the job duties can be required for federal position….theoretically. Still, if you look at federal job announcements, they do offer a token path to the uncredentialed, but it is apparent they are requiring the degree. Or at a minimum, they offer a higher starting GS rating for the credential without any verification that the higher degree translates into higher skill in the actual job.

  • Eurydice

    Well, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers report of 2016, what employers want most are communication skills and the ability to work in a team – and this was a consistent desire across all industries. The ability to listen and understand, the ability to communicate to others visually, orally and in writing, the ability to cooperate and collaborate – these can be taught starting as soon as one is out of the womb.

© The American Interest LLC 2005-2017 About Us Masthead Submissions Advertise Customer Service