chapter  2
26 Pages

Training Policy and Alternative Career Paths

Training and education beyond high school are fast becoming prerequisites to careers with good and better pay, increased upward mobility, and a re­ duced risk of unemployment in the United States. But college is only one path. Alternatives to this path are overlooked more and more as U.S. policy and culture elevate one post-secondary approach over all others. Yet, even as the numbers of college entrants increases, the majority do not graduate with a four-year degree, nor do most occupations require a four-year college de­ gree. High-wage, high-mobility, skilled, non-college occupations exist, but without post-secondary alternatives, many young people take on the expense of a few years of college and end up on unrewarding career paths. This chap­ ter demonstrates that the lack of alternatives is especially detrimental to non­ college women, as non-college jobs for women are less rewarding than are non-college jobs for men. This chapter also illustrates the presence of a col­ lege-for-all bias; and that implicit but very real incentives exist to support the traditional four-year college degree route. Evidence also suggests that targeted, specialized, post-secondary education and training can translate into better-paying, higher-skilled occupations than a few years of a general col­ lege education can.