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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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The Frequent Fright of Student Debt

When students take out, say, $30,000 in loans, do they think that’s all they’re obliged to pay back?  Or do they properly factor in interest and realize they will wind up paying $40,000, give or take?  As I wrote recently, I have no proof, but my guess is most students, in the excitement and/or fear of it all, somehow overlook the reality of interest and focus on the smaller number. ...

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Skills Wanted: Companies focus on what workers can do, not what degree they hold

The supply of and demand for middle-skill workers has created a mismatch in our labor market. The “skills gap” is real, and employers are coming up with their own solutions to combat the talent shortage. According to The Wall Street Journal in an article titled “More Companies Teach Workers What Colleges Don’t,” these solutions include focusing less on four-year degrees and more on skills that workers have or can learn. [Photo Credit: The Markle Foundation]...

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