White Collar Apprenticeships — Bachelor’s Required

The trades are having a resurgence these days. Plumbing, Carpentry, Electrical work are the jobs of the past and the future. Millenials were mortgaged out to colleges instead of seeing the beauty and respect in working with your hands and doing something tangible. You can mend that pipe, repair that circuit board and build that house. Instead we are telling terminals how to calculate our accounts, we are pushing data into pretty charts and sorting expenses into different buckets after a three hour meeting on revenue recognition.

The white collar world has taken over. Parents saw the corporate jobs as something stronger than what they had, something they fought hard to get and now that they are there- they can roll out the red carpet so we too can bask in the glory of the corporation. Except the carpet is dusty and full of cigarette burns, whiskey stains and the scratch of high heels being turned away for no good reason. That path doesn’t work anymore. We will need to build something better for ourselves- this requirement of a four year degree to start working at a corporation is preposterous. College isn’t, and shouldn’t be, necessary to gain access to the corporate job market.

Beyond the fact that these white collar jobs don’t pay what they used to (or should), they don’t provide the safety and cushion they were once chosen for. Blue collar jobs grant you a trade. You can take your electrician skills to another state easily, you can move with your RN license and have a job in minutes — it’s an always in demand skill but with accounting? Well, did you work for the Big 4? Do you have marketing statistics to back up those claims you make on your resume or did you get pushed out of your last job for low returns.

White collar jobs use the college degree as the first wall to climb over when they are reviewing resumes. They have nothing to do with the skills learned for the jobs you take most of the time. We would be better off providing our high school graduates something closer to an apprenticeship at various departments in corporations. These could be sponsored with a tax break for every intern you hire. States could control it, or states could use it as an incentive for corporations to match the state’s contribution to college budgets. We will give you a labor force you can rely on if you give us money- it’s a simple transaction.

Plumbers and electricians take a few courses, a few tests (quite difficult ones) and then they can begin working under a master craftsman. How is the accounting world any different, or any other business, medical or industrialized job sphere? Education has a place, and a valid one, but it should go hand in hand with learning on the job and the employer should put their leg in too. You can’t place all the responsibility and costs on the employees, after all, you wouldn’t hire a plumber who hates your guts, would you?