United States Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is calling for a major reform in higher education. She says that we have to put a focus on apprenticeship and other workforce integration programs. She said that traditional students, meaning those who study for 4 years in college and graduate within 4 years, are very few. A small percentage of high school students actually graduate within 4 years. However, society has decided that the only way to get a successful career is by getting a degree through studying for four years in college. However, many students would benefit greatly from apprenticeship programs. Betsy DeVos said that we need to prioritize those kinds of apprenticeship programs, which used to be very popular but which were stigmatized in the past few decades.
At a conference with business leaders, Betsy DeVos urged them to create partnerships with colleges and other educational institutions near them. She urged the education community to stop pushing students to get a 4 year degree in college and instead give them many options from which to choose from. These options can include various technical and apprenticeship workforce options that help them get a career and develop a career path that they are interested in. Many students do not know what they want while they are still in high school or middle school. The fact is that a four-year degree is not necessary in order to be successful. There are 30 million well paying jobs in the United States that do not require a college degree. Her remarks are also part of the current administration’s efforts to help fill six million empty jobs. We should honor students that choose a career that does not include a 4 year college degree, and we should not give them a subtle message that it is the wrong way of doing things.