For a few generations now, guidance counselors, parents and society in general have insisted that if you don't go to college, you'll never amount to anything. What the truth is now is that if you choose a career in the "the trades," you'll be more financially independent sooner, probably by your mid-20's than your friends who went to overpriced, mostly useless, sleep-away camp for four years.

New Jersey is currently experiencing a serious shortage of welders. That's not the only one of the trades that is desperate for young, responsible able-bodied people to work as plumbers, masons, carpenters, electricians, HVAC technicians, etc.

If you talk to anyone who runs a small business in any of these fields, you'll find them eager to hire and train decent candidates for a career in any of these fields. We spoke to a masonry contractor who was willing to pay $18 an hour to train someone to work for his company. We also heard from Dave Nash from Mercer County Technical Schools, who hosts a podcast to help inform parents and young people on what's available to them.

There are great resources in each of New Jersey's counties.

The brainwashing and lack of creativity in steering young people into meaningful careers, along with the social stigma of not having a college degree has created great demand for people in the trades. So, while your friends are trying to figure out have to pay their monthly college loan bill on a low-paying entry level job, you could be doing something meaningful with purpose that not only pays the bills, but offers great personal satisfaction.

Two of my three kids went for technical training rather than a degree and it paid off fairly quickly. It may not be for everyone, but neither is college, no matter how many people try to convince you that it is.

The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Dennis Malloy. Any opinions expressed are Dennis's own.

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