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On-The-Job Training Prevails as Students’ Disinterest in College Grows

On-The-Job Training Prevails as Students’ Disinterest in College Grows

The 74

Joshua Bay
March 13, 2024
Four things to know about students’ rising interest in immediate employment and apathy towards a college degree.
new study has found more than 80 percent of high schoolers value on-the-job training over other postsecondary options, including a four-year degree — laying bare students’ interest in immediate employment and disdain for a college education.
The study, commissioned by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, surveyed more than 1,700 high school juniors and seniors, with 83 percent saying they value professional development leading to a job compared to 72 percent who value a four-year degree.
In collaboration with HCM Strategists and Edge Research, the study also surveyed more than 3,000 non-enrolled adults ages 18-30 who either chose not to attend college or left their postsecondary program.
Both groups not only placed higher value in on-the-job training, but also licenses and professional certificates.
But a panel of experts came together yesterday to discuss the report’s findings — expressing concern over the growing apathy high schoolers and non-enrolled adults are showing in a college education.
“This is an acute concern to us particularly because our North Star is pretty simple,” said Patrick Methvin, director of pathways and postsecondary success strategies at the Gates Foundation, “to dramatically increase opportunity for the socioeconomic advancement of Americans and to eliminate race, ethnicity and income as predictors of student success.”
“Because we know a postsecondary credential is the most sure path to that, these attitudinal changes are a concern,” said Methvin.
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