I watched this panel discussion the other night because Mike Rowe was going to be on the panel but the whole thing was fascinating. There is a desperate need for conversations like this. We have created a system where tons of young adults are getting essentially useless four year degrees that teach them very little that is useful in the workforce and lands then tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. Meanwhile many good paying jobs are left unfilled because we have made blue collar jobs that require some hard work into something to be avoided at all costs. Meanwhile, as one panelist pointed out, we have more janitors with Bachelors degrees in America than chemists with Bachelors degrees. Nothing wrong with being a janitor but you don't need a B.A. in Art History or Women's Studies to do it. This is a very pertinent conversation in our home with three kids enrolled in the local community college and five more waiting in the wings.
Looking back I would gladly trade "the college experience" for a more practical skill set. I am considering options for doing just that, adding formal skills to my experience, hopefully making me more attractive as a candidate for the types of employers that are most common where we live. Granted I have a decent job that pays me well but I am definitely thinking about a major career shift. Anyway, check this video out. It is just over an hour but well worth your time.