We should advocate for trade schools just as much as college, especially after a pandemic – USC Annenberg Media
It’s time to talk about the false, negative stigma around trade school.
Why is it always, “Make sure you go to college,” and never “Make sure you go to trade school?”
Most high school students are funneled into two- or four-year universities. Little thought is given to other paths toward adulthood, and schools and parents often fail to present alternative options.
The allure of a college degree has tarnished the reputation of trade schools.
COVID-19 hammered most professional sectors but many trade jobs saw double or triple growth. During the economic downturn, trade labor continued expanding despite a volatile world. The pandemic revealed just how much rests upon the shoulders of skilled trade workers.
For students who may not know what they want to do, or if they merely want to try something other than college, trade school offers promise. Many trade workers collect far higher salaries than college-educated young adults and, in some other countries, trade school is popular and encouraged.
One reason high school conversations rarely gravitate to trade school is, in part, because of the stigma that comes with not attending college. But forgoing college does not equate to failure; in some cases it means better pay and better work-life balance down the line.
We should advocate for pursuing trade school just as vocally as we praise the college-bound.