TradeSchool2

Why Your Son Should Reconsider College

4 min

A young friend of mine is in his last year of high school and asking the age-old “what do I do with my life” question. Most average high school seniors would be settling on their final liberal arts college choice right now—more concerned about the climbing wall in the student center and the cafeteria entrees than the degree in sociology that they’re about to fork out tens of thousands of dollars for. But not this young man. He is almost certain that he will be going to trade school next year at the Minnesota-based Dunwoody College of Technology.

“Oh,” I can almost hear you say in a dejected tone. “What’s his problem? Isn’t he smart enough to get into real college?”

Au contraire! This young man is very intelligent, polite, and capable—he could have easily chosen to attend a prestigious college. But I would contend that his trade school choice shows that he’s smarter than most kids his age, for he knows which way the wind is blowing, and has decided that trade school is the best way to get his feet solidly under him while he’s still in his young twenties.

So why is trade school looking like an increasingly smart idea for young men like my friend to choose over college? Several possibilities come to mind.

For starters, trade school offers various securities, the most obvious being financial. If my young friend were to graduate from Dunwoody today, he would likely start a job with an average salary of almost $54,000. That average has risen by $5,000 in the last year alone. Contrast this with the average starting salary for a Minnesota college graduate. That number stands at just over $37,000 according to ZipRecruiter.    

Perhaps the reason for such a higher average salary is the increasing demand for those who labor with their hands. The Baby Boomer generation has long filled the electrician, plumber, welder, and other traditional trade jobs, but with their accelerating retirement comes a dearth of blue-collar workers. “For every one person that enters the trades, five retire,” Industrial Safety & Hygiene News reported in 2019. That statistic promises a lot of job security to young people just starting out.

Those who enter trade school also have a good shot at an independent life. Depending on the trade they learn, graduates may easily be able to start their own company. Being your own boss these days means avoiding such things as vaccine mandates threatened for big businesses. It also means you’re less likely to be canceled in our crazed, politically correct world of white-collar jobs where diversity and inclusion seminars are standard fare and where holding a door for a woman could get you labeled a sexist.

Trade school also gives students a good foundation for life. Because it often takes less time to complete than traditional college, and because hard skills are in such demand, students who choose trade school can jump into the workforce at a young age, accumulate reasonable savings, and even choose to attend college a while down the road, when their few extra years of maturity and financial stability will help them succeed.

Lastly, there’s another advantage to trade school that many prefer not to mention: it’s a form of higher education monopolized by males. This is unpopular because today’s culture is all about gender balance. Females are disadvantaged and we must give women extra help to break through the glass ceiling, the thinking goes.    

But this quest seems to have hurt males immensely. In the fall of 2021, The Wall Street Journal ran a feature-length article on the rapid decline in male college enrollment. “I just feel lost,” the headline ran, a listless looking young white male with lavender fingernail polish gracing the feature image. Reading between the lines, one can guess that in the politically correct quest to fixate on women and policies such as “diversity, equity, and inclusion,” colleges have lost men, and are only realizing it too late.

Men who see through this charade of learning recognize that at least for now, trade school is less likely to handicap them right out of the gate. And for those who might sound the sexist siren, I would suggest that such a scenario is also beneficial for women, for when men are able to succeed, then they are able to lead and provide in a family setting.

People often wonder what they can do to fight against an eroding culture. I’m starting to think that sending our nation’s sons to trade school might be one positive thing that parents can do. Financially secure, independent, mature, and capable men like those who graduate from trade schools are the ones ready to lead their communities and settle down with families… and strong families and communities will go a long way toward restoring our decaying society.

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Image Credit: 

Flickr-Government of Alberta, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist

Annie Holmquist is the editor of Intellectual Takeout. When not writing or editing, she enjoys reading, gardening, and time with family and friends.

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Kalikiano
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A few of us intellectual 'flies' out here were smart enough to refrain from circling excitedly around the steaming pile of fragrant faeces that is the American educational establishment, in that we long-since advocated adoption of the classic European system wherein two complementary educational paths coexist side-by-side: one for the trades and the other for academia. Simply expressed, early-on in the German system (for example), students undergo testing that determines whether they are qualified for higher (academic) educational training or not. Those that are not suitably inclined (either through natural aptitude or intellectual ability) towards academia are directed to vocational training programs. Thus, in the academic system one may rise to graduate-level intellectual achievements, or, conversely, a trades student may achieve higher levels of skilled vocational training (as in the traditional European artisan and craftsman guilds). The system is, of course, an outgrowth of that same guild system that has existed in Europe for centuries and it has always worked extremely well (generally speaking) in terms of adjusting individual assets & resources to socio-economic needs. Only in America, with its largely racially based 'equality' obsessiveness (read: all children need to go to college), has that far more practical (and equitable) approach to education been shunned. From this intellectual fly's viewpoint, it's well past time to stop circling the faeces and start addressing the American education’s 'naked Emperor' as Your Naked Highness (instead of Your Sartorial Majesty).
 
 

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Eva/Ave
With great respect, name calling another nation solves nothing. I know an accomplished scientist at one of our National labs who was tracked in your country to be a carpenter. While I agree intellectual jobs are not meant for everyone and that working with your hands is undervalued. The answer to our current situation is NOT having less men in academia! We need to reclaim ground. We need our own institutions that are ordered to the life of faith. We can not hope to exist under secular tyranny.
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Dave R
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A world class classical liberal education is readily available with iTunes University, Audible, podcasts, etc.
 
 

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Allabouttrades
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Great Catholic trade school in Michigan. Students live on campus! https://www.harmelacademy.org/
 
 

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Dr. Gregory Soderberg
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Thought-provoking, Annie! This is something we're discussing with our teen boys right now. There's a new institute in IL which has distance options as well--Cornerstone Work & Worldview Institute, which offers vocational training, combined with conservative values: https://cornerstonework.org/
 
 

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SovereignAmerican
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I realized in 1967 that unless I was parroting the Prof's ideology, I wasn't going to get that A. This was at a metropolitan Catholic university fraught with leftist teachers. Admittedly, this was during Vietnam, ERA fem-lib, and civil rights and fortunately, for me, I had already learned the critical thinking skills I would need to confront the pablum being spewed. Working all summer just to make enough money to go back to school in the fall wasn't the answer anymore. That and the fact that the school did not offer the type of courses I wanted/needed, I left for a technical school that could give me that curriculum. One thing that was unique was the ability to advance at your own pace; if you grasped a concept quickly, you weren't told to slow down for the rest of the class. This turned out to be essential for me in later years because I knew I could learn almost anything by study and application.
 
 

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