Central Pennsylvania’s Trade Schools and Career Education Resources

 A comprehensive guide to the trade schools and career education resources across the Pennsylvania Business Central 23-county readership

American culture has always told young students that in order to be successful, make money and have a career, they must go to college and get a Bachelor’s degree. However, with the increasing cost of a four- year degree and a record high unemployment rate, attending a trade school makes for an appealing alternative.

Americans currently owe over $1.4 trillion in student loan debt and, according to the Pew Research Center, young college graduates with student loans are more likely than those without loans to have a second job and to report struggling financially.

Trade schools typically cost a fifth of the average cost of a four-year degree and provide individuals with specialized training for a specific job — a job that likely has a lot of openings. Plumbing, electric, welding, trucking and dental hygiene are all examples of career fields that have a high need for employees with vocational training.

Organizations like the MikeroweWORKS Foundation provide scholarships to students going to trade schools to make their vocational education even more affordable. Mike Rowe, CEO of the foundation, well known as the host of the Discovery Channel TV show Dirty Jobs, advocates for trade school education and challenges the idea that a four-year degree is the best path for everyone out of high school. For five years, the foundation has provided the Work Ethic Scholarship Program to help fund students’ trade school education.

The increased need for vocationally- trained individuals and the work being done by foundations like the MikeroweWORKS Foundation inspired us to put together a list of the region’s trade schools and career education resources. We hope this can serve as a valuable resource for those considering an alternative career path.