Good Jobs, Fulfilling Careers Do Not Require a Four-Year Degree

By September 1, 2009Education and Training

Bill McGurn, writing in The Wall Street Journal, reports that college isn’t for everybody. From “Labor Day and the American Dream“:

Mike Rowe wants to restore the luster to Labor Day. As host of the cable TV show “Dirty Jobs,” Mr. Rowe has done them all: from steel-mill worker and pig-slop processor to hot-tar roofer and sewer inspector. In the last year, he’s teamed up with industrial-supplies giant Grainger to set up a Web site ( aimed at the millions of Americans who find their calling outside a university’s hallways.

In an entry headlined “WORK IS NOT THE ENEMY,” Mr. Rowe nails his thesis to his Web page: “We’ve convinced ourselves that ‘good jobs’ are the result of a four-year degree. That’s bunk. Not all knowledge comes from college. Skill is back in demand. Steel-toed boots are back in fashion.”

McGurn also notes the recent paper “America’s Forgotten Middle-Skill Jobs,” by two economists, America University’s Robert Lerman and Georgetown’s Harry Holzer. NAM President John Engler was the keynote speaker at the Brookings Institution when the report was released in February.

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