More students are learning to be mechanics, chefs, and construction workers as college enrollment shrinks


According to a study by the National Student Clearinghouse, trade programs in construction, culinary, and mechanics are experiencing enrollment increases, while many 4-year colleges are facing declining enrollment. In particular, construction trade programs experienced a significant 19.3% enrollment hike year over year, while culinary and mechanic trade programs saw increases of 12.7% and 11.5%, respectively. 

Prior to the pandemic, these sectors had been facing a shortage of skilled trade workers, especially construction. Meanwhile, a Wall Street Journal poll found that more than half of Americans believe a 4-year degree is not worth the investment due to factors such as student debt and a lack of tangible job skills. 

As demand for skilled workers increases due to the pandemic, employment in many trades is projected to grow in the coming years. Workers in trades have reported feeling happy with their work and enjoying job security without the burden of student debt.

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