Thousands of college students across the state of Ohio are graduating over the coming weeks. Job experts predict they may only have a degree and debt to show for their years of study.
Workers in the trade industry said that students may be overlooking a number of well-paying careers that don't require a college degree. A lot of high school students learn pretty early that college is the way to go, but what some students don't realize is that there are an abundance of trade jobs open across the country. The average pay for some as high as $55,000.
Trade industry experts said that many of these jobs don't require a bachelor's degree. In fact, a number of Ohio based trade companies who can't find enough workers to fill the need.
Nick Gerold, is like many young students. He considered a traditional 4-year college. After a bit of thought, he discovered it simply wasn't for him.
"So my freshman and sophomore years, my parents were like ok, keep your grades up you'll go to a 4-year college. But as I went on, I realized I was a more hands on guy. There's things in the workforce that you can't get from a classroom," said Gerold.
He chose a route he felt would get him to work a lot faster. He enrolled in the welding program at the "Delaware Area Career Center."
"Having the opportunity to go out and work and kind of learn some of those real world skills from the actual employer helps a lot," Gerold told ABC6.
Gerold is already working for a local company. He's now setting his sights on the future. Welding instructor, Brad DeMent told ABC6 that tech and trade schools are an option that plenty of young students are missing out on.
"I get calls maybe 2-3 times a week. People wanting to fill the needs of the jobs that that have. We also have employers that take our students and they actually train them and even pay for the training going on to college or a technical school. So there's not just one pathway, that's what's neat about it," said DeMent.
According to the National Student Clearinghouse, across the country about three out of ten high school grads who go to a 4-year public university haven't graduated within six years. That means, there are plenty of these students and possibly their parents who are in thousands of dollars in debt, with nothing to show for it. Here's another stat to consider, research from the Associated General Contractors of America indicates that seventy percent of construction companies nationwide can't find qualified workers. The same goes for industries like carpentry and plumbing.
Jim Kalmar, the owner of Advanced Plumbing said it's hard to find enough staffers for the work that's pouring in.
"The plumbing industry's hard. The industry's busy, there's just not enough plumbers out there. No one wants to get into the plumbing industry anymore," said Kalmar.
DeMent understands with the growth of technology that a college education is certainly a plus. However, he stresses that work in the trade industry won't be going away and the competition for good jobs is pretty slim right now.
"The demand is there. I think the students understand how important the skill need is," said DeMent.
Gerold for one is certainly glad he chose this path. He advises other young students to consider it as well.
"If you are unsure about what you want to get into as a career and you're maybe a junior or a senior in high school and teachers and parents are telling you, hey if you want a successful job go to a 4-year college, now days I don't think that's really the case. If you have the drive, a skilled trade can really earn you a decent living," Gerold said.
Something to keep in mind, finding a trade job doesn't mean you won't need any further education past high school. Experts told ABC6 that a lot of these jobs require certifications or even an associate degree. But, the cost is a lot less than a 4-year college degree. Especially when you consider the time it takes to actually get a job once you graduate. Many trade schools have programs that put you to work as you take those classes.