Robert J. Samuelson, writing in the Washington Post, nails it:
The rap against employment-oriented schooling is that it traps the poor and minorities in low-paying, dead-end jobs. Actually, an unrealistic expectation of college often traps them into low-paying, dead-end jobs — or no job. Learning styles differ. “Apprenticeship in other countries does a better job of engaging students,” says Lerman. “We want to diversify the routes to rewarding careers.” Downplaying these programs denies some students the pride and self-confidence of mastering difficult technical skills, while also fostering labor shortages.
Read the whole thing. Part of the problem here is a failure to understand the doctrine of vocation. Everyone has a unique, God-tailored set of talents, skills, and interests, and God uses these (along with our accomplishments) to “call” us to certain lines of work (by means of people being willing to pay us in exchange for our rendering services or providing goods to them). But before God, all legitimate callings (or “vocations”) have equal dignity.
I tried to unpack this for college students (or those considering college) in Thriving at College, and this concept is excellently set forth for folks in every life stage in Gene Veith’s book God at Work.