Why All Students Should Consider the Trades

Dallastown High School is packed with workforce and trade opportunities for students to explore.

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DAHS Counseling via Twitter

Dallastown Class of 2019 Graduates pose for a holiday photo at HACC Academy. These graduates participated in the automotive program at HACC, one of the many opportunities available to seniors.

Lian Peach, Reporter

College. The ultimate goal. The pathway to the future. It’s the end all be all, the “best four years of your life”, and where everyone seems to be going after high school. Or is it?

Although it may seem like it, college isn’t the only option for after high school, and it shouldn’t be the only one considered either. Another option may even be a better-suited one.

As William Probert, a counselor of 24 years at Dallastown (four years in his current role), puts it, “We have been conditioned as a society that college degrees bring more money but that doesn’t bring the happiness factor into it.”

College is expensive; that’s no secret. The average cost for a four-year college is $40,000 while the average cost for trade school ranges from $5,000 to $10,000 and is typically completed in three to 18 months.

We have been conditioned as a society that college degrees bring more money but that doesn’t bring the happiness factor into it.”

— William Probert

Many people don’t know that the average student debt per borrower is about $37,000, which can take an average of twenty whole years to pay off!

For the class of 2021, the average monthly student loan payment is $433, which is certainly a hefty amount of money to have to put aside each month.

This doesn’t even consider what these graduates may have to pay in rent or mortgage, car payments, cell phone payments, groceries, and other monthly expenses.

However, there is another after high-school path – the road less taken, trade school.

Dallastown provides students with an entire assortment of opportunities to explore the trades while still in high school.

According to Probert, some of these opportunities include “work transition, shadowing, HACC Academy, pre-apprenticeships, and even the courses offered here in the Tech Ed department.”

One senior, Delilah Hughes, took advantage of some of these opportunities and participated part-time in the construction program at York County School of Technology and the Kinsley Construction pre-apprenticeship program.

“Going into senior year, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had so many interests, and none of them seemed to be related to each other,” says Hughes.

Although Hughes has decided to go to a traditional four-year college for environmental science, she credits the trades programs for helping determine her true passions and learning what she would and would not like to do as an everyday job.

“I definitely think that all high school students should experiment in the trades. Even though I’ve decided to go to college and get a degree in environmental science, I have no regrets about trying out the construction industry,” Hughes goes on to say. “You don’t have to work in one of these fields in order to use the skills, as they are helpful in everyday life.”

Being able to experiment in the workforce while still a junior or senior in high school is really special, and there’s no better way to find out what you want to do than by trying everything.”

— Delilah Hughes

The trades are something that everyone, regardless of future plans, can experiment with, most especially in high school.

High school is a time of discovering one’s interests and passions and figuring out what one can see themselves doing as a career.

“I would say for anyone considering experimenting with the trades, don’t be afraid to try something new,” Hughes adds. “Being able to experiment in the workforce while still a junior or senior in high school is really special, and there’s no better way to find out what you want to do than by trying everything.”

Even if college seems to be the right path, taking the time to explore new opportunities can be beneficial to all students in allowing them to reach their full potential and finding out where they belong in the future.