Community organizations and schools are working to make sure students end up on the appropriate track so they can benefit the most from available high paying jobs.
Most jobs that have high salaries require a college degree, especially those in the growing technology sector. Yet there are jobs that only require a trade school degree or an associate’s degree that offer competitive salaries as well. Programs are making specific aim at individual students to tailor to their abilities, financial situation and ultimate career goals.
“In technology there’s a couple of Ivy League schools that the perception is that’s where we’re going to get the talent,” said Greg Bishop, commissioner of Small Business Services. “I would counter that if we make investments in our education system, if we get more minorities into schools like Brooklyn Tech where we’re talking about technology at a very early age, we have to start talking about technology in first grade.”
Programs like Computer Science for All were created to address this problem. According to their data, 9 out of 10 US schools don’t offer computer science programs. Also only 29.4 percent of AP Computer Science test-takers in New York City in 2014 were girls, 6.4 percent of AP Computer Science test takers in New York City in 2014 were African American students and 12.5 percent were Hispanic. Their goal is for every New York City public school student to be learning computer science in high school by 2025. According to a 2015 study done by NYC Future on the tech industry, 62 percent of tech industry employees are white.
While directing children toward the tech industry will help them achieve high paying jobs in the future, not every child will excel in science and technology. Organizations like The Educational Alliance, which provides education programs to children and adults, assesses the needs and abilities of each individual. They have programs directed towards children and adults who want to work in trade and also programs meant to help those who want to go to college. They take an approach that involves educating parents and children so that every family member is involved in attaining higher education.
“We combine our high quality early childhood education programs with adult education classes and wrap around case management services as needed,” said Anya Hoerburger, Senior Vice President for Development and Communications at the Education Alliance. “We believe that this approach enhances the educational opportunities for both parents and students thus increasing the economic and social mobility of whole families. When parents can support their child’s education and serve as a role model, whole families can succeed.”
Though there has been an increase in diversity in the types of available jobs in New York City, with most of the high paying jobs no longer coming from the financial sector, there hasn’t been an increase in accessibility to these jobs. Emphasizing trade school is an important part of pushing people toward high paying jobs. According to the Department of Labor, the highest paying trade jobs include reinforcing iron and rebar workers, structural iron and steel workers, and boilermakers. All have salaries over $70,000 a year. All of these jobs are admirable and require little extra schooling.
“Could you please help de-stigmatize being an engineer or a plumber or an electrician and if you don’t want to go to college or you can’t go to college you can still earn a living and be honored?” said Alice La Brie, formerly of the U.S. Department of State Foreign Services.