College – The Golden Ticket to Success. Or So We Thought. 

While success is possible along the college route, it’s easy to forget a very important reality: many students do not graduate with a job lined up and have sizable student loans to pay off. And with the cost of living rising each year, a first job after school might barely cover rent and student loan payments.

Our culture and society have always assumed college was the next right step for all high school graduates. And for some students, college may still be the best option. However, we are now seeing public favor shift away from college. Recent studies show that Americans are losing confidence in higher education. Only 37% of Americans have faith in higher education and over half think earning a four-year degree is a bad investment. This results in almost 50% of parents preferring their kids avoid college.

With college tuition rising and 40% of college students struggling to find a career in their field of study, why not encourage your child to look at other options? 

More than half of Mississippi’s skilled workers are planning to retire this decade; we need skilled tradespeople. From construction managers to electricians to HVAC technicians to plumbers – our society depends on skilled workers to stay afloat, and the demand has never been greater.

Not only is the demand for tradespeople high, but the benefits and opportunities within the industry are substantial. Starting with no student loans. Your child can start a great-paying job right after high school with no student debt. In most fields, the average salary is $50,000, with the potential to earn up to $100,000 or more depending on how far they see their potential.

Through Build Mississippi’s apprenticeship programs, your child can get on-the-job training that’s paid for by their employer, so they can earn a paycheck while continuing their education. By their fourth year in one of our programs, they could be making an average of $60,000. Plus, with over 100,000 job openings in Mississippi alone, your child can enter an industry that’s desperate for them and be a part of projects that make a true difference.

But their career starts with your support. At Build Mississippi, we have the instructors, the training opportunities, and the resources to help your child succeed – they just need your support! State leaders like Representative Jill Ford, whose sons have pursued careers as tradesmen, have shared the need for skilled workers in our state. Listen to her advice on how she wishes she would have encouraged her sons to enter the trades sooner.

“This job has been the best thing for both of my sons, and honestly, we have never believed that either one of them would have become a plumber, but it’s like they go to work every day, they have a relationship, and they’re having fun while they’re working. It makes a difference. It’s not a dirty job, it’s a worthy job.

We know the decision of what to do after high school can be burdensome and stressful. We invite you to take a second look at the trades. It could just be the next right thing for your child.