College degrees aren't required for high-paying jobs, education leaders say

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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) The future of higher education partners career training with regular coursework, education leaders say.

Manufacturing group employees, Photo Date: May 29, 2018 / Photo: US Air Force / (MGN)

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, nine out of 10 new jobs by 2026 will be service-industry positions. Right now, wages for workers with a high school degree or less are increasing at a faster rate than salaries of people with an associate degree or more.

"How many of us went to college and got a degree and we don't know what we want to do?" President Sheree Utash of WSU Tech asked Wednesday. "There's nothing wrong with that, but there are multiple pathways to careers"

Utash adds overwhelming student loan debt is pushing people away from traditional four-year degrees.

WSU Tech offers training for jobs like aviation mechanics, healthcare, manufacturing, design, and more. At three different campuses throughout Wichita, the trainng prepares people for a variety of skilled-trade jobs that require certification.

"The reward is obvious because, as your career builds, your education is helping to move that forward," explained Utash.

Students can even enroll in technical training programs while still in high school for free, thanks to legislation passed in Kansas. Some coursework for adults is also free as a part of the Wichita Promise Program at WSU Tech.

"We will pay your tuition and provide short-term training and get you job-ready, we'll get you interviews, teach you how to get the job and teach you how to keep the job," said Utash.

Information meetings about WSU Tech's free training program happen every Tuesday and Thursday at the Webb Road campus. You can RSVP to attend here. Meetings Tuesday are from 10:00 a.m. to noon; Thursday meetings are from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.