Trade School is a Better Bet to Solve US Income Gap

By on November 14, 2017

From CNBC:  Researchers are investigating how the United States can become more competitive in the manufacturing industry in the age of artificial intelligence.

Some of their conclusions suggest that more investment is needed in vocational programs and not in large, four-year universities.

“There are too many four-year colleges serving too many students, and too few institutions with greater focus on vocational education and training,” the researchers said.

Additional trade schools, and not four-year college degrees, may be a better bet for U.S. workers, according to new economic research.

The amount of vocational training available relative to the size of a country’s manufacturing sector may reduce income inequality, and improve the fortunes of workers earning below the top 10 percent of household incomes, the data show.

“Pushing more students to B.A. granting colleges may no longer be the most efficient way to deal with the challenges caused by the decline in manufacturing employment,” wrote Joshua Aizenman, the economics chair at University of Southern California. He did the research with academics at New Zealand’s Victoria University of Wellington.

And declined it certainly has.

In September 1977, about 18.3 million people, or more than 18 percent of the U.S. labor force, worked in U.S. manufacturing. Forty years later, that number has since slipped to 12.4 million, or less than 8 percent, even as the general U.S. population has surged to 326 million, U.S. Census figures show.

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