Report: Non-College Grads Earn Less

Last year's election of Donald Trump has been coined by many as the "forgotten man and woman election" because of his appeal to struggling blue-collar workers.  Now, some data appears to show just how much those lower and middle-class workers have been struggling.  The data from Bank of America Merrill Lynch shows that the average wages for those without a college degree have either declined or remained stagnant over the past 40 years.  In addition, data stretching back even further shows a steady erosion in the labor participation rate of working-age men in America.

But for those without a college degree, all hope is not lost.  "There are a lot of jobs out there for people who didn't go to college that pay every bit as much as (college degree) jobs," says Jim Dutton, host of KTRH's Texas Home Improvement Show.  "Air conditioning techs, plumbers, all the plants are looking for technicians."  Indeed, other recent studies have found college is expensive and unnecessary for many.

Dutton says there is a big difference between labor and skilled labor.  Skilled labor is where the jobs and wages are to be had, but becoming skilled in a trade takes hard work and responsibility.  "What hurts a lot of people really isn't the lack of a college education, it's the fact that they get into using drugs and then can't pass background checks," says Dutton.  He recommends pursuing a trade in the same way as a college degree.  "In college you have to go to school every day, you've got to study, you've got to pass your tests...well, to become a skilled tradesman you've got to be there every day, you've got to learn the trade, and it will last you a lifetime."

Overall, the opportunity is there for those without a higher education.  But it will take dedication and perseverance.  "People who have kept their nose clean and actually learn a trade, like A/C or can make six figures a year easily," says Dutton.  "Flipping hamburgers is not going to make you six figures."

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