I want to tell you about my father-in-law. In 1988, he started his business in his garage with his best friend shortly after high school. He sold that plastics injection molding company several weeks ago, for what I would guess is a handsome sum, and is now just two years from retirement after slowly phasing out of the company.
He readily admits he was never a great student throughout his school years, choosing to find other, more creative ways to spend his time and energy. The formal education system, it turns out, just wasn’t for him. Can anyone else relate? Yet his grit, determination, and intelligence helped him build a very successful company that employs dozens of people as it manufactures medical-grade plastics for many of the major medical device and pharmaceutical companies.
This month, I want you all to do me a favor. Stop apologizing or feeling “less than” if you don’t have a college degree. The previous few generations have (albeit for understandable reasons) placed high value on having a college degree because they feel it proves worth or knowledge. Somewhere along the way, college degrees were elevated to incorrect importance, while working in “the trades” became a looked-down-upon route. Ugh.
The ongoing college admissions scandal is proof our obsession with degrees has gotten out of hand. Is there a time and a place for them? Absolutely! Some career paths require them! But are they the be-all, end-all to a successful career and good paycheck? Absolutely not. I could enter into the whole student loan and debt discussion here as well, but I digress.
I have met so many successful, brilliant businesspeople in this industry who don’t have college degrees. It is evident this industry is a prime place to create an amazing career without a fancy piece of paper. It’s clear that today’s economy has many skilled jobs that bring opportunities to grow and thrive. A quick Google search yields pages of articles talking about the shortage of skilled workers which, in turn, is hurting the economy.
So this month, stop apologizing! And use today’s economy and amazing job opportunities to reach out to your local high schools and community colleges! Be part of job fairs and career days; show them the clear path restoration and construction brings! Who knows, maybe your next rock star is graduating from high school this spring and looking for a place to shine.