Four-year Degrees Not for Everyone

A Harvard University study reveals that four-year colleges do not necessarily do the best job preparing young people for the job market, Yahoo News said.

The study by the Pathways to Prosperity Project at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts, suggests that two-year higher education programs and vocational schools could actually do a better job helping people enter the workforce.

The study was inspired by Europe, where often children and their parents decide as early as in middle school the path the children will take. High schools are often divided based on whether its graduating students will attend college or different types of occupational schools after graduation. Here in the U.S., the authors said, high school does not equip students with basic skills they might need to lad well-paying jobs, like electricians for example.

Overall, the culture of “four-year college for all”, has actually made little difference in comparison to education progress in other nations.

“For an awful lot of bored, disengaged kids who are on the fence about completing high school, they need to see a pathway that leads them to a career that is not going to require them to sit in classrooms for the next several years,” said Robert Schwartz, academic dean at Harvard’s education school, who heads the Pathways project according to

In fact, according to the report, by 2018, nearly 14 million new job openings will be more applicable to those who have two-year associates degrees or occupational certificates, jobs such as registered nurses, dental hygienists, construction managers and electricians.

If young people don’t have more options for degrees that would help them begin a successful career, the U.S. will continue to lag behind other nations, Schwartz said.


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