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Great two-year programs that often out-earn four-year college grads

It’s common wisdom in our society today that you must have a four-year college degree to get ahead in life. But a new Center of the American Experiment study concludes that Minnesotans who choose a two-year degree, apprenticeship or occupational certificate often do better financially than their peers with a four-year degree. The study—No Four-Year Degree Required: A Look at a Selection of In-Demand Careers in Minnesota—concludes that median lifetime earnings for machinists, radiologic technicians, plumbers, electric line installers and similar jobs exceed those of their counterparts with a four-year degree by up to 61 percent. The study addresses the “skills gap”...

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Center Study: Minnesotans Without College Degrees Often Out-Earn Four-Year College Grads

Conventional wisdom has it that young people starting out in life need a four-year college degree to succeed. But a new Center of the American Experiment study (download here) concludes that Minnesotans who choose a two-year degree, apprenticeship or occupational certificate often do better financially on average than their college-educated peers. The study--No Four-Year Degree Required: A Look at a Selection of In-Demand Careers in Minnesota—finds median lifetime earnings for machinists, dental hygienists, plumbers, electric line installers and similar jobs exceed those of their counterparts with four-year degrees by up to 61 percent. The average debt incurred by four-year college degree...

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How Many Occupations Does It Take to Buy One House and Sell Another?

My wife Diane and I have just moved, after 25 years, from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie.  Early on I needed to hire a painter to do a modest amount of inside work to get our Minneapolis house ready for sale.  But after a half-dozen calls I couldn’t find one who could squeeze us in for at least three weeks, which would be too long.  I finally tracked down a painter by speaking to a friend, who urged me to call another a friend, who knew a very good one who might be able to start in a couple of days,...

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Minnesota leads nation in good jobs that don’t need a four-year degree

Minnesota is one of the top states in the nation for good jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. That’s the finding of a new report from Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce. The report defines a good job as one that pays $35,000 or more annually, or $45,000 or more for workers age 45 or older. A wage of $35,000 amounts to about $17 an hour, viewed by many experts as a living wage. There are 30 million such jobs nationwide, but generally, candidates need more than a high school degree to get them. Almost half—45 percent—of ‘good’ Minnesota...

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Higher Education and Careers: Schumpeter’s Creative Construction

One of the virtues of writing a book is that an endnote in somebody else’s book leads you to track down a third book you should have read a long time ago.  Yes, I know I need to get out more often. The book I’m currently working on grew out of American experiment’s new, multi-year project, “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: Good news for Students, Parents, and Employers.”  The second book in the sequence above is “From Shop Class to Soulcraft” by Matthew Crawford.  With the third book a classic written by economist Joseph Schumpeter in 1942, “Capitalism, Socialism and...

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Minnesota foundations lead way in training needy citizens for in-demand jobs

Philanthropic organizations in Minnesota are devoting major efforts to training the state’s neediest citizens for in-demand jobs. A coalition of Twin Cities foundations called MSP Win is leading the way. “Training that leads to employment ‘is the best cure for many of society’s challenges’,” said Brian Lipschultz of the Otto Bremer Trust, which gave away $47 million in 2017,” according to the Star Tribune. The paper reported that MSP Win is analyzing job openings by area—health, construction, IT, for example—to better understand market demand. It’s bringing together employers, unions, and trainers to map out successful career paths. Ryan Ponthan of the North Central...

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When the Welders Came to Capitol Hill

America needs more welders, and recently a delegation of them went to Washington to tell policy-makers so. Congressman Tom Suozzi of New York wrote about their visit in the Wall Street Journal: I’m sitting in my Capitol Hill office a few weeks ago, meeting with three well-dressed, well-spoken young men who earn salaries in the high five and low six figures. You see the type a lot in Washington, but these guys are different. They’re not lobbyists. They don’t represent Wall Street or any Fortune 500 companies. They’re welders. Rep. Suozzi was impressed: America needs more of them and what they represent: good jobs...

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Does “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree” Hint at Tracking?  Not in the Smallest Way

Usually, when my colleagues Kathy Kersten, John Hinderaker, or I write about Center of the American Experiment’s major project, Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree, we focus on soon-to-be high school graduates who may not be certain they want to seek a B.A. or B.S.  Or we focus on young people who may already have attended a four-year institution, but only for a spell, as things didn’t work out and they dropped out.  And who may now find themselves unemployed, or underemployed, and quite likely in debt.  In both instances, Kathy, John, and I talk about other excellent educational routes...

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The Importance of Listening Closely to Students and Recent Graduates in Technical Fields

A major topic at the first gathering (August 10) of the Advisory Council for “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree” was a series of meetings my American Experiment colleagues and I hope to host for people in the multifaceted field.  It was an early conversation, and not just because it started at 7:30 a.m. A main gist of our discussion was that young people studying technical subjects, often in community colleges, as well as those who have been working in technical fields for several years, should be afforded more opportunities to share their stories on a regular basis with seasoned ladies...

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