I've editorialized and blogged many times about how I think modern public education in America is shortchanging youth and not fairly presenting options, especially as it relates to work in the trades or in self-employment. David Getts, who operates a one-man cabinet shop and an allied general contracting business in the Pacific Northwest, has eloquently added his voice to this discussion in a piece that is well worth reading.
David even explores the seeming contradiction of valuing hand work and blue collar occupations but encouraging his own children to seek college educations. That's something I've wondered a lot with my own three kids. Two of those kids are done with the education part of college, but they sure won't be done with paying for it for a very long time. My youngest is still in school, but I expect he will join the ranks of those who graduate with the equivalant of a mortgage with no house to show for it.
During my first two years in college, I launched two businesses that were profitable enough to pay for my entire college education, and I graduated without college loan debt. Nowadays, unless you're a Steve Jobs and the business you launch is like Apple, you aren't going to be able to do anything like that. Oh, wait. Steve Jobs dropped out of college to pursue his business. And so did Bill Gates. Interesting.