On the Horizon: Pathways to Prosperity

A college education has long been the entry way into the American dream. Yet unemployment of recent college graduates is in the double digits.

In today video blog, we ask the question, are America’s youth getting the education they need, or just what they want. Few would argue that the U.S. will remain a world leader only if we are the best educated nation, with the most productive workforce in the world.

Yet in less than ten years the U.S. has fallen from first to twelfth among nations in the percentage of college age students completing degrees. This has happened at a time when states across the nation have cut education funding, making a public college education less affordable.

As Harvard professor Bill Symonds points out, that is why he believes students need to be more work ready, essentially getting a bigger bang for their educational buck. But I have to believe this is certainly not an either or proposition. While our country certainly should focus more on occupational certifications, I hope they are not at the expense of courses like history and civics, which give us a commonality and a shared story which speaks to the very heart of what it means to be an American.
Rob McClendon



4 thoughts on “On the Horizon: Pathways to Prosperity”

  1. A big part of the issue is the fact that the state has put so part graduation requirements on students, with no other options for graduating. Another is the councilors at h.s. don’t really know the world of work. Councilors typically move from the ranks of classroom teacher to councilor. They don’t know anything but secondary education.
    Spent the day today judging the State SkillsUSA Plumbing Contest. There were 12 students from 2 career tech centers. There is one specific plumbing program left at Mid-Del Career Tech and another at Wes Watkins CT but its more of a general construction class.
    We were located at the Tulsa convention center, it was quite a show of the many careers being taught at the centers, but there was almost no one from the general public there. As I have heard and said many times,
    “Best kept secret in Oklahoma”
    I guess I have no complaints, I know that I have changed the lifes of many kids, I helped them become taxpaying, productive citizens of our state.

  2. Tim,
    I could not agree more. Such service sector jobs like plumbing have a distinct advantage to many professions young people tend to gravitate to:
    They can not be outsourced. Someone in New Dehli can not unclog my drain.
    Supply & Demand. As fewer choose such professions the more lucrative they will be.
    Debt free graduation/certification. Educationally Career Tech is such a bargain in both the time and money invested by the student.
    Thanks for watching, I am interested in what you think.

  3. As a retired vocational educator I found the Pathways interview very interesting. During my 25+ years as a Plumbing Instructor in this state, I was given the great DIShonor of closing down 3 of the states Plumbing training facilities.
    Now as the president of the Board of Education with my former employer: Tulsa Technology Center, I cannot recommend that the District start another Plumbing trades program. The reason is that there are not any students willing to enroll as a “plumber” these days. Students are not informed of the many possibilities that this type of training can offer. The states colleges have done a great job of marketing and all students are convinced that they must go to college or they are nothing.I realize that there are numerious other factors adding to this problem, but Oklahoma has the best vocational system in the World and I fear for its future. We are opening only health related and popular media type programs just to keep students in the classes. I could go on and on…….

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