Trade schools were once considered a great launching pad for young people looking to quickly start a career right out of high school or for those looking to transition to a new career.
They largely fell out of favor over the last 40 years due to a labor market that favored applicants holding a four-year college education.
But a college degree comes at a very high cost. Student debt is crushing the buying power of not only new graduates but also those who got their diplomas decades ago and are still struggling to pay off their student loans.
With a shorter, more focused curriculum, vocational schools allow students of all ages a way to be trained and certified for a career at a fraction of the cost of a university degree.
A College Degree Isn’t Right for Everyone
We’re not here to knock a college education. There is tremendous value in secondary education and getting a degree is an enormous achievement. And while a degree can unlock a lot of doors, job seekers are still competing against hundreds of other college graduates for entry-level jobs. And more often than not, graduates end up working in jobs that are substantially different from the field for which they obtained their degree.
For many people looking for an education that will set them up for a successful career, four years (at a minimum) is a long time. Especially if their family lacks the resources to help pay for the education and living expenses. A vocational program lasting 12-18 months trains students for careers in fields where there is a steady demand for skilled workers, including:
- Automobile Mechanics and Body Repair
Pros and Cons of Vocational Training
As discussed above, trade schools often graduate their students within 12-18 months, and most schools offer valuable job assistance to their graduates. Students often go on to apprenticeship training—which may be paid or unpaid—before they begin their career in earnest.
And many trade schools charge for tuition and books: so, while vocational training is much closer to being affordable compared to a four-year degree, the costs may still be out of reach for many families.
Free Vocational Schools are Available
Some vocational educational programs operate through non-profit organizations. Newgate School, near Minneapolis, MN, is one such non-profit vocational school. Newgate’s funding comes from donated vehicles, which are then used in their auto mechanic and auto body training programs. Newgate School’s programs provide this vocational training at no cost to young adults from disadvantaged families.
Once Newgate students finish refurbishing donated cars, they are either resold or given to local working single mothers. A donated car tax deduction is determined based on either the IRS’s maximum fair market value or the amount the car is sold for.
You Can Help More Students Get Free Vocational Training
Do you have a vehicle that you no longer drive? Are you tired of paying for registration and insurance on it? Consider donating your car for a tax deduction. Your gift to a non-profit vocational school such as Newgate School allows them to train students from low-income homes for a well-paying career in the automobile industry.
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