Friday, March 18, 2005

The High Cost Of Education

Seth Godin takes some shots at an MBA degree. My meme cuts a bit lower on the educational totem pole.

It is my belief that as college level education costs continue to spiral out of control, we will soon reach a point of diminishing returns. It won't be worth the money. I firmly believe over the next 10-20 years we will see a return to apprenticeship. No, I'm not jumping on The Donald bandwagon. I just feel if young people start their careers earlier they'll be better off professionally and financially in the long run.

However, this doesn't mean we go from high school graduation on Friday to career on Monday. Either prior to an apprenticeship or contemporaneously with it, young people should receive intensive communications training - - speaking and writing (typing but also writing, a handwrittnen note goes miles in biz). The bottom line is with polished communication skills an 18-20 year old would be just as viable in today's job market. And unshackled from college loan debt likely more liberated to hit the ground running. Communication training coupled with a well run apprenticeship progam will be the educational wave of the 21st century.

As Seth points out, if college to you is learning for learning's sake then this doesn't apply to you. But when you've gleaned life's lessons from one kegger the rest are really more of the same.

Finally, I am clearly not targeting highly skilled fields. But a large segment (majority?) of US workers perform jobs that don't require specialized educational training. We should refocus "higher" education to the highly skilled fields so we can better compete with India and China. Already those countries are turning out engineers at rates that should make us blush. If this continues we run the risk of being displaced as the epicenter of technological innovation. And trust me, nothing would make China prouder than knocking us on our technological keister.

Bottom line, armed with honed communications skills anyone can do just about anything. And to get there shouldn't be as expensive as it is today.


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