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Is College a Good Investment?

Normally when I write it involves heating or air conditioning or something regarding the skilled trades. Not this time.

The title itself asks: is college a good investment? First, let me share my thoughts – then I will give you an answer.

My daughter, at the brink of 19 years old, is currently attending college. Her education is important to me (and her) and I am sure that many folks reading this also believe that education is important. However, it is skills that get you places not always education. Before any of you freak out, I am not blasting education. Let me continue; I spoke with her this morning and she was sharing her next year’s class schedule with me. It was all of the typical college curriculum regarding her major.

I then shared with her the following:

“Kayla, I can appreciate all of those classes and your degree in that particular field. However, as a business owner that has employed over 100 employees, I am looking for skilled people whether they have a college degree or not” Being in business for 18 years, I also have numerous friends that own businesses as well that tell me the same thing. Regardless of what degree your child pursues, I highly recommend that they enter the workplace with some, if not all, of the following skills:

  1. Experience with all Microsoft Office applications. Especially Excel, Access, Word and PowerPoint.
  2. Knowing what a CRM is and what a CRM does. Very few businesses operate without a CRM.
  3. Studied or taken some entry-level courses on Adobe products. Like Photoshop, Illustrator, After Effects.
  4. Having had taken a “scratch-the-surface” type course on WordPress and other web content editors.
  5. Knowing how to edit videos. Not a master, but being able to understand the process and how to edit simple videos.
  6. Having experience with social media in a business setting. Most of the youth today already have this one mastered.

Why did I choose these specifically? They are all skills that businesses use daily. Skills are what employers are seeking most in employees. I have had dozens of business graduates come through my company for interviews and when I ask how much they know about MS Excel they say something like this… “Well, we talked about it in school” or “Yeah, I had one class in college but that was it.”

I personally never spent a day in college. Matter of fact, I barely made it through High School. I studied Excel from YouTube tutorials and Google searches. I self-taught myself on everything from Microsoft Office products, web development and a host of other things like accounting and inventory management.

Back to the original question: Is college a good investment?

If your child or student couples their education with a positive attitude, personal integrity, strong work ethic and some skills, I would say, yes. Realize that work ethic is by far the most important. If your child or student just wants a degree to simply have a degree…I say that you’re wasting your money!

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