Friday, October 16, 2015

Work Colleges

I got my long overdue issue of Small Farmers Journal the other day and in it was a small blurb about Sterling College in Vermont. It seems that Sterling College is one of only seven federally recognized Work Colleges in the Nation. Berea College in Kentucky is also a work college. I've been to Berea and was aware of the students working for the college to help pay for their tuition but never really thought about it much except for thinking while I was there what a good idea that was. Now with all the massive debt young people are accumulating to pay for college, coupled with the fact that many of them have no work ethic at all, attending a work college makes all the sense in the world.  Must be why there are only seven of them.

In the latest issue of Motorcyclist magazine, James Parker mentions in his monthly column that the unemployment rate for youth under 25 years of age in Spain is 49.9%. Italy isn't far behind at 42.7%. Parker is looking at the problem as it concerns the motorcycling industry, but big picture, that just can't be good, for now, or for the future of the country. I don't know what the real unemployment rate for those under 25 in this country is but that's not because I'm too lazy to look it up, I just don't believe any of the governments figures. For the sake of argument, however, let's assume it's about 33%. Certainly nothing to brag about. One third of able bodied young men and women living in their parent's basement or standing on the street corner all day instead of doing something constructive with their lives and contributing to the well being of society. If the issue is lack of money for a college education, then a work college would seem to be the perfect solution. It would certainly make more sense than trying to give everyone a free community college education as is currently being bantered about. Free college will only serve to devalue a community college education. I saw a Tee shirt design the other day stating: Community College - just like real college only easier. It'll really be a joke if no-one has to work to get in. And if they're not willing to work to get in now, which may partly explain the huge numbers of student loans, when and how are they going to learn the skills required to get and keep a job?

It's interesting that the seven work colleges are all located in the Eastern United States, and with the exception of Sterling, they are all located just about on a center line north to south. Not sure what would've brought that about, but it's something to think about.

As a side note, one of the schools is located in Carlinville, Illinois. There was an article in the Chicago Tribune years ago about Taylor's Chili in Carlinville, so the Missus and I stopped there once on a trip south. Carlinville is a lovely little town with a population of about 5700. We got a bowl of chili and a couple of cans to go. They've been making chili for over 100 years. If you're ever in the neighborhood, stop by and get a bowl.

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