Building a Better Life (read more)

Between 2012 and 2022, the U.S. is projected to need more than 500,000 new carpenter and construction laborers. Today, there are two million jobs available that are going unfilled because there are no skilled workers available.

Ron Ferguson, faculty director of the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard University, says "The college for all movement, as laudable as it is, I think has tended to depress the esteem and the social regard in which anything other than a four-year college degree is held." He believes schools should start familiarizing young people with options other than a four-year college degree in middle or early high school.

"There are young people for whom a four-year college degree is not the best fit," he continues. "The fact that we resist facing that fact means that we fail to prepare the way for young people who need options other than four-year college degrees."

Two of the programs featured in "Building a Better Life" work with young adults, most of whom lack a high school diploma or equivalency, and help them improve their academic, life, and employment skills while learning a marketable trade. A third program works in partnership with local businesses to train undereducated, usually unemployed, adults in skills local businesses need.

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