Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Is There Room for Blue-Collared Curriculum in College?

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Is There Room for Blue-Collared Curriculum in College?

Article excerpt

Can blue-collared curriculum make it in colleges? Does it even exist? These are questions that need addressing when surveying academic programs in associate- and bachelor's-level institutions. The thought process is to have trade schools take care of all of the "non-academically" sound population and mold them into using their hands in order to have a career.

The train of thought that permeates from a collegiate and academic perspective is, why not let potential college students experience academia and blue-collared hands-on experiences at the same time? The argument against this idea suggests that blue-collared work requires less education and, in turn, fewer academic resources that need to be allocated by colleges or universities. Many of the programs only require that the students acquire a certificate. Some merely require a portion of coursework to fulfill the requirements to be appointed to these positions.

From a realistic perspective, it's quite simple: college is not for everyone. The idea of debt without a guaranteed job can seem quite frightening to potential students who teeter on the indecisiveness on whether to attend college, if at all. Many believe that the investment in a vocational program outweighs the resources needed to be put into a college degree. Scholars would argue that this is the very idea that keeps job seekers from being competitive. This also provides an advantage to the institution as they would be in the position to corner a market of students who would not normally enroll into college after high school. Because most programs gear towards a white-collared profession, higher education can become a turnoff to those who would like to hone a trade that they may feel is more tangible. If more emphasis was applied to the blue-collared working class in higher education, many believe that the government would be more inclined to invest federal funding back into colleges and universities.

One of the main issues as to why there perhaps needs to be more emphasis put on the academic side of blue-collared careers is due to the way technology has changed the way career paths are structured. Careers in construction, factory work and even the automobile industry now make technology an important aspect of how jobs are performed. …

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