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New Scholarship Emphasizes Skilled Trades


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For many recent college graduates, rocky times await after graduation. The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reports that in 2015, 10.5% of young college graduates were neither enrolled in higher education or employed (up from 8.4% in 2007).

Those fortunate enough to find work encounter another set of frustrations. Often, the jobs available don’t match their level of education or ability. The EPI further classifies 14.9% of recent graduates as underemployed (up from 9.6% in 2007).

“When we grew up, the thinking was: white collar, good; blue collar, bad. With the Smart Service Scholarship Fund, we hope to dispel this notion from our kids’ thought process when selecting a career." 

Furthermore, the work college grads find often has little to do with their education. In 2013, the Washington Post reported that less than 28% of college graduates work in a position related to their field of study. Add all this up, and one might conclude that a four year liberal arts degree no longer grants the bearer access to their dream job (or even a good job for that matter).

We may never know for certain, but if more young men and women pursued formal educations in skilled trades, the current generation entering the workforce might find themselves better off today. 

Here are some advantages students can reap from making such a move:

  • Lower cost of education

  • Higher rate of employment

  • Greater likelihood career matches educational focus

Yet, despite the well-documented advantages of choosing a job in construction or a related field, very little is done to encourage young men and women to pursue such a career. Traditional liberal arts colleges thrive even when the disconnect between a degree and real world results has never been more pronounced. Young people continue to go to college simply because the world tells them to.

College does the job for many people, but not everyone. Before blindly following that path, students should at least consider an alternate approach. New opportunities abound for post high school education. 

The Smart Service Scholarship Fund

The Smart Service Scholarship Fund awards $1,000 biannually to a student (or prospective student) hoping to pursue a career in a skilled trade or field service occupation. This includes construction, but also extends to encapsulate fields such as HVAC, plumbing, electrical work, and landscape design.

The first deadline for entry is November 10, 2016, but the scholarship will continue to be offered on a rolling basis twice a year thereafter. To apply, simply visit the scholarship page on the Smart Service website and follow the instructions listed.

Workers in construction, HVAC, and plumbing provide the very backbone that keeps society upright,” says Smart Service CEO Skipper Stringfield. “These jobs are well-paid and intellectually stimulating. It’s a crime that we don’t do more to encourage kids to pursue these careers.”

“When we grew up, the thinking was: white collar, good; blue collar, bad. With the Smart Service Scholarship Fund, we hope to dispel this notion from our kids’ thought process when selecting a career,” finishes Stringfield. 

For more details about the fund, eligibility, and how to apply, visit the Smart Service website.