Friday, December 13, 2013

Blog #10


There are a myriad roots to success in this world and millions of people looking to make their way through them.  However, In America, people are made to see only a few of them.  The educational pathways that lead to success should open up to all forms of educations and jobs but these pathways have been streamlined to lead all people down the path of college education.  One pathway that has been laid to waste is the vocational pathway.  The government has cut down on programs that help young students learn about skilled labor jobs and society has given a stigma to those who choose to enter this pathway.  This has resulted in labor shortages with high wages for workers and skyrocketing unemployment rates for the abundance of college graduates.  As the government, and students, move away from the vocational pathway, it has fallen into disrepair.  Schools no longer have good relations with employers to produce relevant degrees and internship programs.  Without financial backing from the government these issues cannot be resolved.  Therefore, more emphasis needs to be put on opening up the vocational pathway and redesigning the trade schools to better suit societal needs.  These schools could take on structure as Sweden's Post Secondary Vocational education which essentially makes a hybrid system of traditional education and degree training.

Brown, Tara Tiger. "The Death Of Shop Class And America's Skilled Workforce." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 30 May 2012. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.
"K-12 Education." The White House. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
OECD (2012), Post-Secondary Vocational Education and Training: Pathways and Partnerships, Higher Education in Regional and City Development, OECD Publishing.
Selingo, Jeffrey J. "Why College?" College (un)bound: The Future of Higher Education and What It Means for Students. New York: Houghton Mifflin, NY. 160-66. Print.
Shulock, Nancy, Collen Moore, Su Jin Jez, and Eric Chisholm. "Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda." Institution for Higher Education Leadership and Policy (March 2012): n. pag. Print.
United States. Cong. House. Committee on Education and the Workforce. Putting America Back to Work: Reforming the Nation's Workforce Investment System : Hearing before the Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training, Committee on Education and the Workforce, U.S. House of Representatives, One Hundred Thirteenth Congress, First Session, Hearing Held in Washington, DC, February 26, 2013. 113th Cong., 1st sess. HR 113-5. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print.
United States Cong. Senate. 105th Congress, 220. Workforce Investment Act of 1998. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.  GPO Access.<><>
Vedder, Richard. "The College-Graduate Glut: Evidence From Labor Markets." Chronicle. N.p., 11 July 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2013.
"Wages." U.S. Industry Quarterly Review: Labor (2013): 1-4. Business Source Premier. Web. 23 Oct. 2013.
Watson, Bruce. "Why College May Not Be the Best Choice for Your Education Dollar." N.p., 13 Aug. 2012. Web. 12 Oct. 2013.
Wright, Joshua. "America's Skilled Trades Dilemma: Shortages Loom As Most-In-Demand Group Of Workers Ages." Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 07 Mar. 2013. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.

Monday, December 2, 2013

# Case Study

When considering the benefits of choosing vocations over degree education, it is helpful to look at specific jobs and their average wages and employment growth rate.  When considering these examples, it is important to remember that labor jobs require half the schooling so these workers start with half the debt and start working sooner.  Three examples for labor jobs with their wages and growth outlook are: Cosmetologists with $22,500/yr and 14% growth, Welders with $35,450/Yr with 15% growth, and Plumbers with $46,660/yr and 26% growth.  All of these are middle class wages except Cosmetologists who require the least training.  Three examples for jobs requiring bachelor's degrees are: High School Teachers with $53,230/yr and 7% growth, Journalists with $ 55,420/yr and 6% growth, Accountants with $61,690/yr and 16% growth.  While the wages are higher, the discrepancy in workable time and student debt contribute to the numbers.  However, the growth of Vocational jobs is much higher meaning that more people entering the workforce would be able to get jobs as opposed to the more expensive college degrees. This plays to the argument of the benefit of vocational education as probably slightly lower wages but much greater rate of employment.

The website used was the US Burreau of Labor Statistics with specific adresses:

Monday, November 18, 2013

#9 Counter argument

My argument is that Vocational and technical education is a good career option and that having a large number of people going into these fields is important for the economy and the individual's future. There is not a lot of articulate have been published directly criticizing this but there are lots of articles focusing on the why college is necessary but will never address the alternatives, speaking only of people with high school degrees.   Other articles will discuss the problems with the labor market in general.  These provide the most interesting counter argument.  "We heard stunning stories at the depths of the great recession in 2009 and 2010. There were welder shortages around the country. Welding isn't necessarily rocket science. There were thousands of unemployed welders, but they didn't have exactly the skill set often sought by particular employers at that time" (United States 45).  This shows one side that even people who go into trades for better chances of employment get the short end of the stick and wind up unemployed with specialized skills. This is a real issue that cannot be argued away, however, it is  not a reason to say that people should not go into specialized labor.   This does show the merit of changing the way job training works to produce graduates with more widely applicable skills.  This could be similar to the systems put in place in Europe already which combine theoretic education and job training.  For those already in the workforce or going into it, this can be avoided by receiving more than one certificate, perhaps in different types of welding, or taking large ranges of classes and internships to better qualify for more jobs.  Most other counter arguments lie in the american system of vocational education.  Another would be that of the California Community College career training program.  "The considerable inconsistency across similar programs - in name, credit length, course requirements, expectations for basic skills competency - creates unnecessary confusion that prevents good understanding among students and employers about the meaning of particular credentials… Most unfortunately, this variability can dilute the value of credentials that students earn because employers are uncertain of the skills, knowledge, and competencies that a credential represents" (Shulock  8).  This is another real issue because even with great programs producing great employees, if there is no standardization then employers will never know if they are getting one of these workers or a lesser worker and will so be cautious.  I would consed both these points but argue that the key to both is improving the programs currently in place and standardize the new programs.  These arguments are focusing on a different aspect of the education debate as they do not attack the merit or necessity of  more people going to trade schools.  There arguments must, and can only, be remedied with the promise of greatly needed education reforms.  

Lit review #5

Mishel, Lawrence, Ruy A. Teixeira, and Washington, DC. Economic Policy Inst. "The Myth Of The Coming Labor Shortage: Jobs, Skills, And Incomes Of America's Workforce 2000." (1991): ERIC. Web. 18 Nov. 2013.
This article was written as a rebuttal to the Workforce 2000 report by Johnston and Kicker in 1987 which gave speculation into the future of the american labor market in regards to labor shortages.  This article uses Bureau of Labor Statistics to analyse and predict labor market trends.  Though this article is out of date and many of their predictions are wrong, this article helps me with my research in a few ways.  It provides an interesting view on the labor market and offers many interesting solutions to them. "This is because the focus on and overstatement of the increasing number of professional and technical jobs has led to an overemphasis on college education. In fact, even an optimistic view of the labor market suggests that, at most, 30 percent of the future labor force will need a college degree, up from about 25 percent in the mid-1980s. Moreover, employment projections suggest that there will be a surplus of college graduates" (Mishel 7).  This idea of college coupled with skilled labor is, as of now, an inefficient idea but it does interact nicely with the idea of making the process one system like in Europe.  His productions of necessary levels of education are also highly correct and highlight an issue rarely discussed anymore. "Moreover, there is no evidence that skill upgrading within particular occupations will be large, though it seems likely that more jobs will require threshold levels of literacy and numeracy. The implication of these findings is that there is little empirical support for one aspect of the "coming skills mismatch" hypothesis: an explosive growth in skill requirements" (Mishel 13).  His definitions of different levels of labor are also very helpful in discussing the broad topic.  "First, job characteristics are partially driven by changes in the occupational composition of employment, such as a shift from manual to technical/professional jobs. Since jobs within a particular occupation will differ depending on their industry attachment, a second important dimension is the industrial aim position of employment. The last dimension is changes in the skill content or pay level of work in a particular occupational/industrial category. This dimension reflects, for instance, the degree to which the skill level of supermarket cashiers, blue-collar manufacturing workers, or stock brokers grows over time. As it turns out, change in the skill content of particular jobs is probably the most important (certainly the hardest to measure) dimension of the job structure" (Mishel 13).  In other words the occupational composition division is highly skilled producers, the industrial division is that of skilled construction workers such as steel workers and welders, and the last division occupational jobs or those requiring the least skill and education that still require unionized work.  He also defines a key term to this article, Labor shortage or skills mismatch.  What this means that the job requirements have exceed that of the available workforce and can be to the fault of the employer or to the decline of workforce.  
this article was written by Lawrence Mishel, the Research Director of the Economic Policy Institute, and Ruy A. Teixeira, a sociologist at the Economic Research Service, and I.S. Department of Agriculture.  Both men are relatively unbiased and well versed in workforce issues and debates.  This is a picture of the two men.

Monday, November 11, 2013

#8 interview

I interviewed Joanne Zucconi a graduate of the Beauty School of Bergen County and certified Cosmetologist.  I chose to interview her because she has been working in her field of study for about 35 years and has advised her two children on decisions of college or trade school.  Both of her children went received College degrees.  She chose to go to trade school because she was not happy with the secretarial job she received out of high school and was suggested by a friend that she go to beauty school.  In 9 months her training changed her life.  She was placed in a job right out of school but was not happy with her placement and changed jobs very quickly.  Employment has never been an issue for her even when the economy crashed and she has been able to sustain middle class wages simply by accepting more or less hours.   She was never pushed into college and never even considered it as a young adult.  When asked if she would encourage people today to consider vocations or education she said that she would consider it best for people to have a little of both.  "Having some classes in business is good so you are more informed owning your own business, maybe just basic accounting , I learned through colleagues  but it never hurts to take a class at a community college." She believes people today should try to get a degree but they should not be forced.  she says "People should go to college for at least one semester and try it out.  If you don't know what you want to do then go to community college it doesn't break the bank and its a trial thing but always give it a shot."  she concluded by saying, "I knew some one who complained that her husband who had no degree and worked for the telephone company and made more money than her.  When she finally got her masters she made more money than him and that was her goal but his telephone company job wasn't that bad but it irritated her but today these people can make fortunes. In general people should not look down on people who went to technical school because we fix your cars, your hair and your houses.  Without us where would you be? We need to get rid of this taboo surrounding skilled workers.  We are still educated people and we deserve to be treated that way."  This is helpful because it is not based on numbers or statistics or even expert's predictions of what will happen with the job market, it is the experiences of someone who has been there and seen her own experiences and those of her husband, whose outcome was not so good.

Monday, November 4, 2013

#6 Visual

this cartoon by Steven Breen, found at , is a powerful image about the decision to attend trade school as opposed to college.   This image sums up the argument that because more people chose it attend colleges the average wage has gone down and the wage of welders has gone up.  Furthermore because the College student is thinking that the perspective welder is a loser, it also demonstrates how shamed and forced young people are into going to college.  Society makes them feel like they have failed if they attend another form of post high school education or job training.  The cartoon was created by a political cartoonist targeting the Obama administration but regardless it perfectly explains the problems the education system has been facing for many many years.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Lit blog #4

Shulock, Nancy, Colleen Moore, Su Jin Jez, and Eric Chisholm. "Career Opportunities: Career Technical Education and the College Completion Agenda." Institution for Higher Education Leadership and Policy (March 2012): n. pag. Print.
This article is addressing the issues California is having with its Community College  Career Technical Education system.  The Career Technical Education system is a system where state and federally funded community colleges offer associate and certificate job training and education.  "Community colleges offer a broad array of career-oriented certificates and associate degrees through what is generally called "career technical education" or CTE. Policymakers across the country are hoping to rely heavily on community college CTE programs to recharge their economies by helping students earn credentials with labor market value" (Shulock 1).   They analyse some of the specific issues California is having and some of the issues  that community colleges offering CTE are finding. One such problem is having many broad similar certificates offered  resulting in overall lower quality.    "State accountability reporting consists primarily of annual counts of degrees and certificates by field and extensive reporting of activities and enrollments. Outcomes by program are not reported because, with few exceptions, students do not officially enroll in CTE programs. Colleges can track course outcomes but not program outcomes, so there is no clear basis for evaluating how well subscribed a program is or how many program entrants complete it and reap benefits in the labor market" (Shulock 4).  One key concept is associates degrees versus certificates.  Associates require 60 credits, about two years, while  certificates are job specific training in under 60 credits.  One issue is that many certificate programs are not regulated or standardized.  "The considerable inconsistency across similar programs - in name, credit length, course requirements, expectations for basic skills competency - creates unnecessary confusion that prevents good understanding among students and employers about the meaning of particular credentials… Most unfortunately, this variability can dilute the value of credentials that students earn because employers are uncertain of the skills, knowledge, and competencies that a credential represents" (Shulock  8).   All four authors of this article were research or policy annalists for the California government and Board of Education and were tasked with the research and writing of this article as an official policy brief.  This article is extremely valuable to my research because it provides information on a good american career training and education system already in affect.  While it does need some improvement it is nice to know that it is in effect already.  It ties in very well as a direct comparison to the similar programs flourishing in Europe.