There is an important fact that is too often overlooked when students are preparing for post-seconding education and their eventual career. It is that 60% of jobs will require some post secondary education, but only half of those (30%) will require a 4-degree. The other half will require a 2-year degree or certification.
Our schools are focusing too much on preparing students for a 4-year degree, but not on a 2-year degree or certification. Currently, there are many highly rewarding and well-paying jobs that are going unfilled because students are resisting the career and technical education pathway.
We need to make more students aware of the options for receiving a 2-year degree or a certification. But we are facing an even more difficult problem. It is that a large number of students who attend community college have to take remedial coursework. And, unfortunately, this is often the kiss of death, because not only are these courses less interesting — after all you are taking courses on subjects to which you have already been exposed to, but even more distressing, you pay tuition to the community college to take coursework that doesn’t even apply to your degree or certification program.
This must be avoided at all costs. But how? Instead of focusing entirely on preparing students for a 4-year degree, we should begin to focus on preparing some students for a 2-year degree. This path should be available to students as an alternative. It might mean that a base of literacy (reading, writing and math) is provided in a little more depth and practice. This can ensure that the student can pass community college courses, and/or receive a certificate in an area of interest without the need for remedial courses.
These students need a strong foundation in the basics so they can be community college ready. A well paying and rewarding career will meet them. And they can always continue on to complete a 4-year degree in the future. There needs to be more pathways, more choices, for students. We know that there are many avenues in life for successful achievement, and we need to change our beliefs that more college, and all at one time, is the best way to get ahead. Only then will we be successful in having more students complete post-secondary education, and then move into the gainful and good paying jobs that they deserve.