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Postsecondary education for non-dummies

This appeared as the Star Tribune's Sunday cover editorial on July 16, 2017.  [Star Tribune photo by Anthony Souffle.] In this era of high technology manufacturing, four years and a bachelor's degree is hardly the only smart path to take. Only 22 percent of jobs in our state require a bachelor's or above. High school graduation should be a time of optimism about the future and congratulations all around. But I heard recently about a mother who was in mourning at her son’s graduation, struggling to restrain tears. She had implored him to enroll in a four-year college, but he had chosen a...

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Who Needs a Four-Year Degree?

Not everyone. In fact, not most people. The Center's new program, "Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree," highlights the fact that there are many rewarding careers that don't require a bachelor's degree, and don't entail a mountain of debt. Today, Kathy Kersten has the lead op-ed in the Sunday Star Tribune. It is titled "Postsecondary education for non-dummies." Here are some excerpts, please do read the whole thing: In recent decades, our society has developed a powerful cultural bias that a four-year college degree is optimal for everyone, and that any other path to a career is second-best, “for dummies.” But...

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Where Does the Idea Everyone Should Go to College Come From?

The astute Howard Root had a very good column in the Business section of the Star Tribune the other day (July 10) with the forceful headline, “We’re Not Doing Students Favors by Overselling College Degrees.”  The recently retired CEO of Vascular Solutions, a medical device company he started and ran for 20 years, one of Root’s most effective points was when he noted that his firm “consistently had unfilled job openings for non-degreed technicians in machine design at salaries well above $50,000.”  But when it came to their “entry-level marketing associate program,” Vascular Solutions “received at least 50 applications from...

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Innovative Dunwoody program helping women and minorities find great jobs

Minnesota’s shortage of skilled workers is causing employers in many fields to scramble to find new sources of talent, including women and minorities. Dunwoody College of Technology is a great place to look. Female and minority students now make up 14 percent and 19 percent, respectively, of Dunwoody’s student body. The college’s Youth Career Awareness Program (YCAP) has played a central role in attracting these young people to technical occupations of a kind many haven’t traditionally sought out. Recently, the Star Tribune’s Neal St. Anthony profiled Dunwoody’s YCAP Program, which was named after the late Leon Rankin, a 1960s Dunwoody grad and one...

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Kersten gets message out that terrific careers don’t require a costly four-year degree: Op-ed reaches 28 community newspapers

The Center’s Great Jobs project aims, above all, to get the message to young people and parents that many terrific careers don’t require a costly four-year college degree. In recent weeks, 28 suburban and exurban newspapers have run an op-ed by Katherine Kersten that makes that point concisely. Katherine points out that many families would likely approach their teenagers’ post-secondary planning differently if they knew two key facts: Here’s the first: about 49 percent of young Minnesotans enter a four-year college after high school, but only 22 percent of jobs in our state require a bachelor’s degree or more. In other words, there...

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AchieveMpls helps students find great jobs that don’t require a four-year degree

Lots of Minnesota companies are looking high and low for skilled welders. They have an ally in AchieveMpls. The mission of AchieveMpls—the strategic non-profit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools—is to ensure the district’s graduates are ready to pursue their best career and post-secondary options. When a student shows an interest in an occupation like welding, its staff connects him or her with professionals in the field, and then assists the student in identifying—and applying to—the optimal training program. In the past, the emphasis has been on getting a two or four-year college degree. But in 2016, AchieveMpls launched an innovative program...

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Great Jobs and a Perfectly Fitting Story

Do you recall the old line about someone looking like “he came from central casting”?  About a person who appears, not merely to be a good fit for a job or expectation, but a perfect fit?  As a metaphor, the adage may be a stretch in describing the connection between a Page One story in the Star Tribune on Wednesday (July 6) and a major American Experiment project, but maybe not. The story was “Shortage of Skilled Workers Squeezing Twin Cities Builders.”  The project is “Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: Good News for Students, Parents, and Employers.”  With the two...

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Educational and Career Advice and a Barely Changing Score

In the grand scheme of things – and even in much smaller schemes – two decades are not much more than a blip.  So, I don’t want to read too much into an article, published in 1997, that makes many of the same points about how young people choose between four-year colleges and other postsecondary institutions, aided and perhaps pressured by their parents, as does American Experiment’s current multi-year project, Great Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree: Good News for Students, Parents, and Employers.  Still, the consistency is interesting. The article, “The Gatekeepers,” was written by Kenneth Gray, a professor of education...

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