Op-ed makes the case for post-secondary education and training: It “unlocks family-wage careers.”

The labor shortage – the Great Resignation – has employers scrambling to fill open positions, more than 10 million unfilled jobs nationally. For those with the required qualifications, there’s possibly never been a more labor-friendly job market. 

Yet, as Jeff Vincent writes in The Seattle Times

Although Washington state has one of the most dynamic job markets in the country, nearly all available career pathway jobs remain out of reach for many of our high school graduates. Opportunities in our state for landing a family-wage career are plentiful. They go beyond information technologies including automobile services, manufacturing, health care, agriculture and more. Unfortunately, there are barriers for most graduates who choose not to go to college. 

Most of these pathway jobs require education or training beyond a high school degree.

Vincent chairs the Washington Student Achievement Council. The problem, he notes, is that too few Washingtonians are pursuing the necessary post-secondary credential.

We’ve been stuck at the same percentage of high school graduates who do not continue past high school — a disturbing 40% — for two decades.

We’ve written often about the need for continuing education (see here, here, and here). 

Vincent points out that there are few barriers to gaining the needed training and education.

We have the necessary community-technical colleges, universities and four-year colleges to meet these post-high school job requirements. They range from a traditional four-year degree to certificate programs that can be completed in less than a year. The jobs are available. Many of the needed supportive resources are in place. Yet 40% are still not going beyond high school. To improve, local communities must come together to remove the obstacles that stand in the way. 

He cites some examples. Please, read his commentary. We’ll leave you with his conclusion.

This is a life-changing opportunity for thousands of our young adults who choose to seek a good job after high school graduation. By inspiring and assisting more of our high school graduates to take advantage of continuing education, we will improve their prospects for a productive adulthood. The entire community will benefit. 

Every year we delay, thousands of our high school graduates will fail to qualify for the family-wage jobs so abundantly available in Washington. It is a loss we cannot afford.