Kids Start to See the Truth About College and Choose the Trades Instead

Juice Verve /
Juice Verve /

For many Millennials, the idea of college as the ticket to success was drilled into their heads from the time they were children. Without it, they were told they wouldn’t amount to anything more than a garbage man. Now, as a result of this thought process, degree programs have become flooded, and the blue-collar trades are losing workers left and right as demand skyrockets.

Enter Gen Z.

They saw what had happened to the Millennials and were determined to make better choices. Instead of taking on debt for college, they opt for vocational school and embrace decently paid on-the-job training. According to a report from the Wall Street Journal, this push has gained so much traction that some people are starting to refer to them as the “Toolbelt Generation” for bypassing the classroom.

In 2023, the Associated Press reported that college attendance was on a significant decline as trade programs were reporting a tremendous surge. For many, this was simply a result of reading the writing on the wall with AI. Seeing how it is being positioned to eliminate many white-collar positions potentially, they are opting for careers that are more AI-resistant. Since robots aren’t being trained for full diagnostics like humans are and cannot perform certain tasks accurately, the trades are a perfect industry to ensure a solid future.

Watching these young adults make such intelligent decisions is a great thing. For many of us, being “just” a plumber, carpenter, mechanic, welder, or landscaper was horrific when we listened to our parents. Such work should be considered beneath us, and we should aspire for more with college, only to learn the degrees were worthless. The market is now oversaturated with people who bought into the same hype and are doing their best to pivot.