It’s already that time of year. The school year is winding down, and many of us know some high school seniors that will be graduating in the next few weeks. That inevitable question, “Where are you going to college?” is bound to pop up.
These days, many students and their parents are thinking about how much of an investment, both time and money, they are prepared to make when deciding on a post-secondary school plan. The higher cost of a four-year degree is turning some students off and making them carefully consider the ROI in the long run. Quite possibly, earning a bachelor’s degree is the right decision for some students. It is not the correct decision for all, however.
Another factor in the decision might be that some students already have a clear outlook on their career goals while still in high school. Precision Plus and other companies have a solid internship program and strong relationships with local high schools. Technical Education is starting to see a robust comeback in many school districts, as well. Students are being equipped with hard skills that are allowing them to either go straight into the workforce or allowing them to be gainfully employed while furthering their education. We have had great success with our internship program, and you can learn more about it at https://www.preplus.com/education-and-internships/.
There are plenty of exceptional machinists and manufacturing engineers that have been extremely successful straight out of high school. The mechanical and technical skills young people can acquire in Tech Ed courses, when paired with a good work ethic, passion, and tenacity, can create a very valuable team member. It is not unusual for a company to promote ongoing education for their employees, as well. It is something that Precision Plus encourages via onsite workshops, outside training at trade associations, or simply allowing flexibility for those team members who take classes while still working full time.
At places like Career Magnet Academy in Knoxville, Tennessee, high school students are offered a chance to graduate with an education that entails hard skills, soft skills, and a big head start towards their associates degree. Instead of thinking of college as the place to figure out what to do with their lives, the students at Career Magnet Academy say, “Why wait until then?” These students are encouraged to work towards an associate’s degree while they’re still in high school.
Recently in the news, a high school senior from La Crosse, Wisconsin, was in the spotlight for graduating from Western Technical College. It was the first of two graduation ceremonies Austin Klum will be walking in this spring. Next up, he’ll be marching with his fellow seniors at nearby Westby High School. For the last several semesters, Klum had been completing his associates degree in IT software and development. Klum had taken advantage of Wisconsin’s Youth Options Program, allowing him this head start. To learn more and see if the Youth Options Program is right for a student in your life, visit https://dpi.wi.gov/youthoptions.
Education must adapt in this changing economy we have had over the last decade. It must be relevant, not just to the students and their families, but to the needs of our country. A strong economy relies on a ready and able workforce for the future. And each person’s path to be a part of that future might not look the same. There is no perfect solution for all.
Some students may choose to either start with the two-year technical track and roll into a four-year program, like Gateway Technical College (GTC) offers, or go straight into an engineering program like at our partner engineering school, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE). Precision Plus is proud of the relationships we have built with our high school partners like Elkhorn Area High School, our work with GTC and Dr. Bryan Albrecht and the RPM Center, and our ongoing commitment to those aiming for a four-year degree through MSOE. We are working to advance rewarding career opportunities for young adults through these relationships.