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One Year Alternatives to College: Educational institutions for the “digital age”

Students who want to avoid college debt, while developing highly prized job skills, are increasingly turning to a new sort of educational institution—one that bills itself as a “college alternative for the digital age.” In a year or less, these schools train students in in-demand skills that lead to well-paying high-tech jobs. Students generally leave the program debt-free. They pay a low tuition either using money they earn during apprenticeships or from earnings after they obtain a job....

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MCTC helping undecided students figure out their course of action

Minnesota faces a looming shortage of skilled workers, and we look increasingly to our community and technical colleges to help solve it. But here’s a big problem: Many first-year students enter college without any clear idea of what they want to do. They need a lot of help to figure that out—and if they don’t get it, they are likely to drop out. That’s a huge loss to the students themselves and to the employers who need the talents they bring....

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A message to high school seniors: College is one choice, but it isn’t the only choice

For many high school seniors, graduation is less than a month away. There are a lot of emotions that come with this realization: Shock. Panic. Surprise. Excitement. Accompanying such anticipatory angst is the often-dreaded question, “What’s next?” For some, a college education is the next logical step after high school. But it may not be the appropriate path for all students. Nor is it the only way to succeed. ...

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What Middle School Students Need to Know about Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree

Knowing of American Experiment’s project, “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree,” a producer at Minnesota Public Radio recently sent us the printed version of a very good story written by Ashley Gross and Jon Marcus for National Public Radio titled “High-Paying Trade Jobs Sit Empty, While High School Grads Line Up for University.” The two reporters write: In contrast to men and women with four-year degrees, “People with career and technical educations are . . . significantly more likely to be working in their fields of study.”  ...

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Career and Technical Education: Not your grandpa’s vocational education

Career and technical education (CTE) programs are ready to be taken seriously. Gone is the vocational education of years past that was generally interpreted as second-best and known to channel certain populations of students into skilled trades. Your grandpa’s vo-tech got a makeover, and it looks pretty darn good. But there’s still a challenge: getting parents and students to buy-in to the new look....

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Construct Tomorrow shares hands-on construction experiences with students

With the worker shortage problem expected to explode from the current 60,000 unfilled jobs to as many as 280,000 by the end of 2022, sufficient improvements to Minnesota’s talent development pipeline are a must. Baby Boomers with in-demand technical skills are retiring, and few young people have the skills or interest to take their places. But efforts are underway through the Construct Tomorrow program to solve our state’s workforce crisis and get students excited about a future in building and construction trades....

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Rush City’s Dennis Frandsen offers free college for his hometown’s high school seniors

As Minnesota grapples with an increasingly urgent workforce skills gap, stories like Minnesota banker Dennis Frandsen’s offer inspiration. Frandsen—whose business holdings include banks and manufacturing companies that employ 1,000 people in four states—recently offered to award the entire senior class at Rush City High School with two years of free college at Pine Technical and Community College....

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