Thank you, NBC News.
NBC Nightly News asked an important question in a recent story: Is college worth it? I will be the first to say that a college education has helped millions of graduates advance in the world. But the more critical question this story raised - and several other reputable media outlets have asked as well - is if this should be the standard for everyone. And the answer is no.
As the cost of a four-year college education continues to rise, we see a future workforce starting their careers with an incredible amount of debt. In addition, the education that many receive may not prepare them for careers with high demand and adequate pay to get out of that debt in a timely manner. And as NBC reported, 30% of college grads also end up in a career that doesn’t even require a bachelor’s degree.
Meanwhile, there are good-paying jobs in the service sector that are hungry for talented and skilled labor. And our country’s trade schools are on a critical mission to educate and train students that often sets them up for a stronger future than our country’s esteemed universities. The same NBC story reported that 28% of graduates with a two-year degree earned more than the average 4-year college graduate.
But we don’t have nearly enough skilled trades professionals in our workforce. Demand for our Neighborly brands at Dwyer Group is at an all-time high. However, creating good jobs is one thing. Filling them with trained people is another.
The big divide between colleges and trade schools.
As Mike Rowe of “Dirty Jobs” TV fame has said about colleges: “We are lending money we don’t have to kids who can’t pay it back to train them for jobs that no longer exist.”
But lots of dirty jobs exist. And they are important jobs that you, me and everyone we know will need handled at some point. Who is going to repair your broken air conditioner in the middle of the hot summer? Who will replace your leaky water heater? Who can install that new window where the kids got too close during baseball practice? It’s probably not going to be the young man or woman with a brand new bachelor’s degree in fine arts.
In a Waco Trib column, Dwyer Group CEO Mike Bidwell referenced a Deloitte study that said there will be 2 million unfilled trade jobs by 2025. Dwyer Group is working hard to help meet demand. As Mike told readers, “We can start by giving these middle-skills jobs some respect.”
And that respect extends to women in the trades too where Dwyer Group actively promotes the Women In The Trades program to expand knowledge about career opportunities.
It fills my heart to see Dwyer Group’s service brands tackle a growing objective. It’s certainly a big reason that we have surpassed $1.7 billion in system-wide sales a year. I am inspired daily by what service professionals do on the front lines for customers across the country and around the world. And I have personally witnessed how rewarding it is for those who succeed.
My wish is for more people to join this journey and find similar success. We have nowhere to go but up with current and future franchisees championing this cause.