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August 12 - August 16, 2013

New high school seniors are weighing options for after graduation. What next step would you advise for a new high school graduate?

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Answers Votes
4-year college or university 39%
Military service 18%
Technical or trade school 37%
“Gap year” off to work or travel 6%

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Comment from Ron Cros, (8/13/2013, 11:28 AM)

Each person is different, not all are cut out for a 4 year college or university. The military is a good choice for the young person who may benefit with some discipline that the military life will provide and also a chance to have school paid for with the GI bill. I have a friend that went to a trade school in mechanics specializing in Toyota, works for a Toyota dealer makes very good money never out of work, and they send him to school for continued training with the new cars. Gap year????

Comment from Car F., (8/14/2013, 12:44 PM)

In my personal experience, going directly from high school to a higher education institution is generally a mistake. Kids don’t know what they want and they tend to drop off and change their minds several times before finding something they like…maybe. Best to take a year off and either get a temporary job or go travelling and exploring the real world. My son did that for a year and upon his return enrolled in a technical institute. He is now on his second year doing really well. By age 23 he’ll have a diploma in Industrial Instrumentation and Controls which he can use to find high paying jobs and finance another two year in engineering…the trick? A Household with no TV for 18 years and lots of trips to the local library and critical thinking on everyday life.

Comment from N Bufford, (8/15/2013, 7:40 AM)

While I voted for a year off I'd like to qualify it. If they can afford to travel it would be good to take the year off. If not it is hard to stop working and go to college later but without a degree it is hard to get a living wage. I would actually recommend attending a 2+2 program at a community college partnered with 4 year universities. Even going part time for the 1st two years worth of credits to work part time would be good. This is a less expensive way for a student to "find out" what they really want to do.

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (8/15/2013, 10:57 AM)

“It depends.” How academically oriented is the graduating senior? Do they have a partial or full scholarship available? Do they feel suited for a trade to work more with their hands? Et cetera.

Comment from Car F., (8/15/2013, 11:42 AM)

Great comments!!!

Comment from David Lemke, (8/16/2013, 8:13 AM)

At our Open House Event a presentation was given on how over the next years there will be a great shortage of skilled labor. The time between now and when the baby boomers entered the job force the emphasis has been on a 4 year degree. Recently developed 2 year Associate Degrees have been added to the mix which leads high school seniors thinking the only way they could get a decent paying job was to get a degree. But nothing replaces on the job training when it comes to the skilled trades and that is why apprentice programs were established by the skilled trade unions. The under-cutting labor pricing by non-union contractors and companies have diminished or eliminated these programs along with pay scales and quality. Leaving high school seniors believing it was not something to give them a quality life. The thing is that good skilled tradesmen or tradeswomen can still make more money than some professions with a 4 year degree. The majority of these skilled trade positions have been held by the baby boomer generation and they are retiring. Creating this shortage even more and the law of supply and demand will only increase the salaries of the skilled worker. In our community certain skilled trades and skilled trade unions have been reaching out to high schools to show job opportunities that are available to them. Two year associate degrees offered by Technical Colleges in some skilled trades may be required or preferred by the employer today. This normally offers the student a good economical choice for their post high school education and a opportunity of a good paying job. Unfortunately the coatings industry has been lacking in this area unless you want to be an auto body repair man or women. While some Colleges and Universities are implementing some types of coatings education, the availability of industrial and marine coating sector programs at nearby Technical Colleges for the student is basically non-existent. As a whole, we also are not reaching out to the high schools as other skilled trades are across the country to give this trade exposure to the students. I believe that SSPC, NACE, and Coating Manufacturers could do a better job in this area as well. Machinists, electricians, welders and a few other skilled trades have always been thought of being leaders in good paying jobs. The technical aspect of the industrial coatings industry has been given more respect recently than in the past which gives this industry a bright future; we just need to get the word out to them. So my suggestion, do not overlook the skilled trades as a job option including the coatings industry.

Comment from Ron Cros, (8/16/2013, 11:19 AM)

David: I have to disagree with your comment "The under-cutting labor pricing by non-union contractors and companies have diminished or eliminated these programs along with pay scales and quality." Just because a company is non-union, does not mean they don't have training programs, or pay a decent wage to there employees. I believe the greater problem are the ones without a contractors license, no insurance, no workers comp, no benefits, and pay cash to their workers. And the fact that the local and state regulators don't crack down on them hard, only contributes to the problem. If a company is in compliance with all the licensing regulations it should not make any difference if they are union or non-union. I pay my employees a living wage, many have been with me 8+ years, some longer, that says something.

Comment from mark zamiar, (8/20/2013, 8:04 AM)

Ron Cros: You say you pay a living wage...well how much? do they have any benifts? a guy is with you 8 years, well what if he retires from your company will he have a pension after he worked his entire life with you? I hope so for his sake

Comment from David Lemke, (8/20/2013, 5:28 PM)

Ron, I do agree with you on your point about contarctors without a license, workmans comp, benefits and the like. But I can't imagine state work or any other company of good standing that would intentionally hire them. Not saying all non-union contractors are bad, but the contractors you mentioned had to come from somewhere and they aren't the ones that employ union workers. You may train your own workers, but history does show that labor unions of the past and present have training programs for all of their union members that can be employed by many different contractors. The point of my comments were to show that the coatings industry is not reaching out to high school seniors like other skilled trades are today. Those skilled trades that are reaching out to the students ARE the labor unions of those trades. The coating industry labor unions are the ones that have diminshed the most, which is part of that problem. I did not see in your comments how the non-union contractors are reaching out to the high school seniors.

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