Taking a New Path: Studies Show Gen Z Students Prefer Skills Learning over Four-Year Degrees

Being a high school student in 2020 has been challenging, to say the least. On top of canceled sporting events, dances, and in-person learning, high schools across the country are seeing a major shift in their students’ goals for after graduation. Why are more and more graduating students considering skills learning and trade careers over a traditional four-year college degree? Studies show that Generation Z is thinking beyond a Bachelor’s degree to find professional success in the workforce.

ECMC Group and VICE Media conducted a national survey this past spring to learn about high school students’ career goals and perceptions of higher education.

Jeremey Wheaton, president and CEO of ECMC Group said to HVAC Insider, “This study shows that today’s students are incredibly resilient and resolute in their desire to forge their own path when it comes to education. It also illustrates that they have a keen understanding of the need for skills-based training and lifelong learning, which are integral to succeeding now and in the future.”

Standout statistics from the study include…

  • Worries about Student Debt
    64% of participants worry about how they’ll pay for higher education.
  • Value in Skills Training
    74% believe a skills-based education (e.g., trade skills, nursing, etc.) makes sense in today’s world
    61% said the top place to learn is on the job
  • Confidence in the Future
    84% believe their job prospects are equal to or better than their parents’ generation

Consider a Career in the Energy Industry

The Bioheat®, oil, and HVAC industry has so much to offer for Gen Z graduates that want to secure a rewarding, well-paying job that is based in skills training and provides opportunities to grow a lasting career. In fact, the energy industry directly correlates with the goals shared by survey participants.

  • Worries about Student Debt
    Trade school and certification training for jobs in the energy industry do not require a four-year degree. Depending on the job, programs can range from six months to two years. Plus, when compared to four-year colleges, trade school and related training requires significantly less financial investment.
  • Value in Skills Training
    Jobs in the energy industry are hands-on and skills-based. Positions like HVAC service technician and fuel delivery driver combine skills learning and on-the-job training. Plus, all entry-level jobs have growth opportunity and increased earning potential.
  • Confidence in the Future
    Fuel and HVAC companies are looking for qualified applicants now. The industry continues to grow and specific advancements in Bioheat® fuel and high-efficiency HVAC technologies promote longevity for years to come.

Read more blog posts on Generation NEXT Energy Pros to learn more about careers in the oil, HVAC, and Bioheat® fuel industries. You can create a FREE profile on our website to start connecting with potential employers in your state.