Ken's Weekly Blog Entry
Posted: October 6, 2015, 12:00am by Ken Canion Print Email
A Degree Is Meaningless:Education Is Priceless

A Degree Is Meaningless: Education Is Priceless


Long gone are the days where our workforce comes from young men and women who are trained on the job by talented and experienced mentors.  We used to call this type of education “apprenticeship” and unfortunately, it is no longer the way people are learning their trades.  Interestingly, our society values college degrees for prime positions and these people are being hired without any or with very little actual on the job experience.  This simply doesn’t make sense!  If you had the choice between hiring someone who has no experience but successfully earned a degree and a person who had been educated and trained by someone on the job for four years, who would you choose?  A degree is meaningless: education is priceless.
There are very few jobs in engineering and possible some of the sciences that really need extended, specialized education in order to successfully perform them.  It is far more economical and productive to introduce people to the workplace by actually working.  Being an apprentice and having  hands on, professionally geared education is far more valuable than a general degree based on tests and grades rather than experience.
College degrees are handed out based on course after course that may or may not be directly related to a person’s chosen field.  It is unlikely that anyone with a college degree has retained all of the information they had put in front of them the previous four years.  If a person is trained on the job and has been working with the information they need to perform their duties for four years, they are obviously more capable of carrying out their job than someone who hasn’t set foot in the same workplace during their school years.
There is an interesting and growing trend in many countries around the world where families are choosing to provide their children with an education at home rather than send them off to school.  These families are home schooling their children much like families did before institutional schools came into the picture.  In fact, an estimated 1 to 2 million families in the United States alone value a very traditional style of education rather than an institutional education.
When a child is home schooled, he or she is very much like an apprentice.  Mom and Dad show their children how to perform essential tasks and provide them with skills in order to be successful in life.  Children learn to cook, sew, balance check books, budget, fix things and more.  Depending on their interests, they often take classes chosen by their parents to enrich their home education. 
These children will not graduate from high school with a diploma because many times they are not allowed to have one without attending an institutional school.  Yet these young people go on to attend college or work in the fields that they’ve chosen as a result of their interests and apprenticeship.
An advantage that many of these home schooled children have over others is that they were raised and educated in small groups by loving family members.  They are more likely to have better self-esteem and values based on those taught and practiced by their parents.  While there are exceptions to every rule, these home schooled children are quietly proving that hands on education and experience can make success possible without having to earn a degree.
The bottom line is that whether or not a person has a degree when they begin at any job, they are ultimately starting out as an apprentice.  Whatever their educational background might be, they still have to learn how to perform on the job and to be able to meet the expectations of their employer.
Education is priceless.  Apprenticeship is a unique yet still valid form of education.  Regardless of whether or not a person has a degree, as long as they have a good education they can be successful.