“Earn While You Learn” Or “Borrow Today, Pay Back Tomorrow?”

November 12, 2013

The Akron Beacon Journal front page story Sunday was titled More and More, Students Having Trouble Paying Back Their College Loans.

A few quick takeaways-

  • Borrowing over $100,000 to get psychology degrees did not create sufficient ROI to cover $900/month loans payment for one student, whose work using her degrees is paying near minimum wage;
  • Nationwide, 14.7 percent of borrowers defaulted on their federal student loans in their first three years of repayment;
  • Nationwide, students at for-profit colleges have the most trouble repaying their loans, with almost 22 percent not making payments for at least 270 days in the last three-year snapshot;
  • According to a new study by the University of Kansas, adults with student debt tend to show lower college graduation rates, delays in marriage and buying cars and homes, and lower net worth than those without debt.
  • According to a spokesperson from the Institute of Student Access and Success: “The loan is supposed to enable them to get an education to get a job and pay back the loan, when you see high default rates, you know something in that string of logic has broken down.”

Indeed.

Really? This is your plan?

Really? This is your plan?

Critical thinking is recognizing and challenging assumptions.

The assumption is that having a college degree, any college degree, will guarantee the graduate a well paying job able to pay off the student loan indebtedness.

For almost 15 percent of borrowers nationwide, this is NOT the case.

We strongly recommend college education if your plan  assures that you will earn a sufficient return on your college investment to allow you to repay the cost of college.

In the current economy, frankly, that is often NOT the case.

We urge you to look at college affordability and loan repayment terms up front- and make a decision- do you want to start your life in significant debt?

There is an alternative.

  • While many college graduates are unable to find work  that pays enough to allow them to pay back their student loans, getting a job in precision machining will enable you to earn while you learn, and avoid the huge student loan debt trap.
  • Many employers will provide tuition assistance.
  • The outlook for employment  in our industry has remained above 90%  (Very Positive) all year. CEO’s I speak with are always looking to find talented people.

Many of our industry’s top process engineers, managers, buyers and quality control personnel  started in operations and built their education as they built their career.

So you now have a choice- borrow loads of money today and hope that you can pay it back tomorrow. Or earn while you learn and build a career as you build an educational pathway to success without huge loans.

We’re really a fan of education of all kinds. We’re just not a fan of big debt.

Precision Machining Career Info

PMPA Comprehensive Career Education Database

Right Skills Now

Student Debt Chart

Advertisements

Earnings by College Major Compared to Precision Machining

September 11, 2013

Many people think that the choice of where they  went to school is an important factor in their post graduation earnings.

A new report from Georgetown University shows that the choice of major has a much greater influence on those earnings.

We thought that we would show how the average wage of a skilled machinist compares to those earnings- without the  4+ years of college and the debt most graduates build up while at school.

Our figures for the skilled machinist were taken from our latest Shop Hourly Employee Wage Report and represent the annual straight time hourly earnings for a setup qualified multiple spindle, rotary transfer, Swiss type, or multi axis CNC turning/machining center operators.

The machinist earnings are a low estimate, frankly, because many machinists are scheduled overtime.

The college major earnings data was posted by Planet Money on the NPR site. It was originally prepared by the authors of the Georgetown study.

Average earnings of setup qualified precision machinists exceed those of lowest earning college majors- with out the college loans to repay

Average earnings of setup qualified precision machinists exceed those of lowest earning college majors- with out the college loans to repay

We were well served by our college degree, eventually. The problem was, when we graduated, we were making more in manufacturing than our degree would earn us in an entry level position in our field.

If you have the passion for academics and a 4+ year university program, that’s great.

But if you know that you really aren’t “scholarship’ material, and you’d rather be doing exciting work than writing papers and piling up student debt, we think it will be worth your time to investigate a career in precision machining- or any other craft like electrician, mechatronics, welding, tool and die making,  robotics…

Successful completion of high school math algebra, geometry, trig is all that is needed to be able to do the math for precision machining.

We’d love to help you start your well paying career.

More information:

Career overview

Career benefits

Career training

P.S.  I interviewed a member CEO today: Their machinists averaged $50,000  last year, plus top of the line medical, vacation, holidays, personal days,uniforms, plus company paid training and more… You should really give serious thought to gaining a skill rather than a degree.


Why Manufacturing Is Still Your Best Career Choice

February 19, 2013

ITR Economist Brian Beaulieu gave a very informative economic outlook for the attendees at PMPA’s Manaement Update Conference in Glendale Arizona last week.
We saw lots of charts and correlations that helped our members make sense of all the conflicting ‘news’ and economic indicators that are our constant distraction.

But I can share with you the one graph that should give you the confidence to find your career in advanced manufacturing (like our precision machining industry) rather than go headlong into debt for a college degree that may not have a positive return on investment.

US Manufacturing as a percentage of GDP (Value Added) (3 Month Moving Average)

The trend for US manufacturing remains positive and significant.

The trend for US manufacturing remains positive and significant.

This graph documents recent history, going forward we see manufacturing jobs returning to North America as energy prices for the rest of the world increase.

We see energy access and prices improving for U.S. Manufacturers as a result of the shale gas boom.

We know personally, despite the uncertainty in the market, that many shop owners are trying to add talent, so they can continue to sustain their levels of production and customer service.

If going deep into debt for a degree with no return on investment is something that you are determined to do, good luck with that.

If however, you could consider the idea of learning and earning as you go, I can heartily recommend getting a start in precision machining via a local community college.

It has been our experience that you will have a job before you complete a one year operator program, and the balance of your training and education will be sponsored in whole or part by your employer.

54% of recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed.

Career info on Precision Machining.

PMPA Training and Education Database