College Debt Soars While Trade Jobs Go Unfilled

The feds are reporting that millennials face $1 trillion in debt, largely due to student loans. Meanwhile, high-paying trade jobs continue to go unfilled.

Seventy-three percent of 19 to 29-year-olds say student loan debt has delayed what are considered financial milestones.

“There are people who won't be able to buy a house for sometimes decades, and it also means quite a few of those people have made an unfortunate initial choice about education and career,” says Ken Simonson, chief economist for the Associated General Contractors of America.

According to the National Student Clearinghouse, three out of 10 high school grads who attend four-year public universities have not earned a degree within six years, while 70 percent of construction firms struggle to find qualified workers.

“One of the good things about starting out in construction is people move up. They become managers and owners of construction firms after starting out as laborers or helpers,” says Simonson.

And he says construction today is much more high-tech than years ago.

“Lots of GPS and laser-guided equipment, experimenting with 3D printing, robots and augmented reality goggles.”

But Simonson says there remains a stigma about construction jobs versus earning a four-year degree, and high school students are almost always encouraged to choose college.

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