College isn’t the only way to go

What you need to know about the job market and why now is the best time for students to join

Selah DeLong, Photographer

College or Career? Now is the time when students are asked what they want to do for the rest of their lives. This question isn’t easy to answer. Part of the reason it instills so much anxiety is that there are many jobs available. It can seem incredibly daunting. Figuring out what career to pursue is not easy. A commonly perceived solution to this problem is to go to college.  

College can be a great opportunity. However, students who go for the sole fact of going can experience repercussions such as debt from student loans and a degree they may or may not use. What students don’t know is that there are many other options. 

“In 2017/2018 school year, in Snohomish County alone we left more than 5 million dollars on the table for Snohomish County students,” Director Snohomish STEM Network Angie Sievers said. Snohomish STEM Network is an organization that helps students direct their career path. This organization also informs about the many ways to pay for schooling. “Our job is to make that connection for students,” Sievers said.

There are also many scholarships available to students. Of the three technology-focused tech scholarships LSHS Career Specialist Kim LaFortune receives, only one of them usually goes to good use. It’s a common misconception that to get a scholarship you need to have a 4.0 GPA. Scholarships adapt to many different students and their career paths. 

 “There are lots of ways of paying for things, and it goes back to asking good questions […] The best thing is to figure out and know as early as possible what your family is able or not able to do, and based on what that partnership looks like, consider your options,” Instructional Coach for Secondary Science Holly Urness said. 

Students are also uninformed of all of the available jobs in the trades. According to Washington STEM by the Numbers, the top industries and STEM jobs include healthcare professionals, construction and trade professionals, engineers, computer and IT professionals, life sciences professionals and K-12 educators. 

“There will be jobs available to you that you’ve never even heard about […] This is a creative marketplace that taps into all different kinds of skills,” Urness said. 

Recently, there has been a push for students to join the trades. While there is nothing wrong with this path, it does bring up the question: Why is there a recent push for students to join the trades? The answer is simple. 

“A lot of the ‘boomers’ they call them are retiring and leaving those trades, and we’ve had this kind of bubble where everyone thought ‘you need to go to college’,” LaFortune said.