Four-year college isn’t the only plan to career readiness

A recent opinion piece was published in USA today co-authored by Freeman Hrabowski, the President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and Jamie Dimon, CEO of JP Morgan Chase & Co. about how they both see many young people that are not on a path to meaningful employment that will enable them to join the middle class. Many students go to college for a year or two drop out and struggle to find even minimum wage jobs. They also state that there are many well-paying technical jobs that go unfilled due to not having enough applicants with the necessary skills.

The result is truly a national tragedy: today, over five million young people, including close to one in five African-Americans and one in six Latinos, are neither working nor in school. The youth unemployment rate is over 11%; for young African Americans it jumps to over 20%. With many young people out of work or stuck in dead-end, low-wage and low-skills jobs, economic growth slows and social challenges increase.

Universities must do more to support students of all backgrounds who arrive on their campuses. Nonetheless, to tackle youth unemployment and support the needs of today’s economy, students and their families should be informed about all of their education options, including college and career pathways that don’t include pursuing a four-year degree immediately. Students connected to high-quality training programs have a chance to find a way out of poverty and a real chance at economic opportunity.

To do this, first, they want to transform how states and cities develop career-focused education programs. JPMorgan Chase, the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium are launching a multi-million dollar competition for states to expand access to career-pathway programs that can lead to high-skill, well-paying jobs.

Awarding grants to U.S. states will encourage them to implement career and technical education programs that correspond to the needs of area employers. High-quality, rigorous career technical programs would arm students with the skills to work as aviation mechanics, nursing technicians or IT specialists. The result is great jobs.

They also want to eliminate any negative stigmas associated with Career and Technical Education schools. Many of these school teach skills in Coding, Robotics, and Medical Science. Fields which are high paying and have many high paying jobs available.

It’s great that these two leaders are getting behind this initiative. Here is a link to the complete article: Four-year college isn’t the only plan to career readiness