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Category: Work, Employment / Topics: Advice, Guidance & Mentoring Choices and Decision Making Family Financial Grandchildren Relationships Trends Work

What if My Grandchild is Not College Material?

by Barbara Greenleaf

Posted: March 19, 2021

He or she could have a bright future in the real world!…

  • The government estimates that there are over 30 million jobs that pay an average of $55,000 a year and do not require a bachelor’s degree. If the skilled worker owns his own business, of course, he or she can earn much, much more.
  • Incomes for journeymen (beginning) crafts persons are in the top half of U.S. incomes and these incomes only increase as their skills and experience increase.
  • Many of these jobs will never be outsourced. When a homeowner’s pipes burst, who’s he gonna call, Bangalore, India?
  • Your teen will not be burdened with the horrendous student debt that often comes with a 4-year degree and the underemployment that often accompanies it, too. One study showed that the median salary for B.A. recipients from the most elite colleges 10 years after they matriculated is only about $70,000.
  • There’s a serious shortage of skilled workers in this country. For example, 7,000 electricians enter the field each year, but 10,000 retire.
  • There’s also a serious shortage of semi-skilled workers. Take trucking: The American Trucking Association predicts a shortfall of 175,000 truck drivers within the next six years. Walmart is now offering its drivers $90,000 a year.
  • The U.S. economy is changing. The manufacturing sector is growing and modernizing, creating a plethora of interesting, well-paying jobs for those with the skills to do them. Many of these jobs are accessible through apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and the vocational programs offered at community colleges.

Vocational education has been stigmatized as being inferior to college prep; it is considered a ghetto for lower socio-economic kids who can’t make the grade academically. But many young people learn better by doing and, even if they aren’t geniuses at school, with some encouragement and guidance, they could thrive in a studio, workshop, or shop floor.
I found this to be true during my years of mentoring in the Virtual Enterprise program at Santa Barbara High School. This experience led to my series, “Business-Minded Teens.” The three novels in the series weave general business tips and some career-specific information into inspirational—and often funny—stories. Parents and grandparents play a prominent role in them, too.
Check out my special deal to introduce the latest book in the series, Keep ’Em Rolling, at You’ll want to read the books yourself, pass them on to the teens in your life, and use the questions at the back to discuss them.

Next week: An excerpt from another of Barbara's books, "Good-to-Go Cafe"

Search all articles by Barbara Greenleaf

Barbara is the author of eight books, including two of particular interest to seniors. She has given us permission to use material from her newsletter, "From the Desk of Barbara Greenleaf," to which you can subscribe on her website.

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Posted: March 19, 2021

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