This is a continuation of my question to those on where to go with a Power Engineering Tech DIploma/ Boiler Operator. Again I appreciate the feedback, but it seemed there were several people with several suggestions and answers. Looking at other forums some seem to be preparing for doomsday, other's look at student's education with optimism in taking what you're really interested in, and don't loose your grounding because of a shaky economy. While other's gave advice based on our monetary system. Ultimately I know I have to choose, and not rely so heavily on those that may be wrong. However, I'm still looking for an enlightening, definitive answer on what education is in need the most. Action must be taken if I'm to help out my peers (Student Senator,) and those completely blind to how severe the situation is. I'd love to talk philosophy; the silly mindset of American's in particular but they need to be alive and well to listen. So I ask all of you: the hermits (always a place for them ), those trying to save our civilization, and those recommending one's education be based on what you're really interested in, what are the facts and opinions of such a nice bunch. What would be practical? e.g. I'm going to Milwaukee Area Technical College that recently, with GE, created the largest solar farm in the state for educational purposes. Is it too late? Is it too late for a 2 or 4-year degree in any reasonable field? My goal is to serve you, so that you will do what you may, and with a poor understanding of our changing economy within the last year alone, need some grounded advice. Thank you for your patience, but the time for any action would be now as CM put it. Couldn't agree more.
Nuclear Power plant ? They are needing help . Google the plants going up . Not eco friendly but a solid job .
I think it's hard to know exactly what careers would be viable or not in the various future scenarios. That's why it's so hard to provide direct advice. I'm not sure the exact line of work one does to earn money is as important as how you handle the money you make. Is the student prepared to be on a college campus and not join all his/her friends in signing up for all the free credit card offers? Is he/she prepared to live within his/her means when all others around are not?
As someone who went back to school at a later age to do something I always wanted to do, and stopped at nothing to get there, and incurred a large amount of student loan debt to do so - I would say the following:
Avoid student loan debt. It is truly the worst kind of debt to have. Some argue that it's "good" debt because it buys you an education. But these days, more and more people with "good" student loan debt, and highly education, can't find jobs. Or aren't finding jobs that pay enough to allow them to pay off the debt. Student loan debt is almost never bankruptable or dischargable, and they are very aggressive in making sure they collect their payments. They will expect you to live in poverty and hand over most of you paycheck to them if need be. So do whatever it takes to avoid student loan debt. Even if it means going to school part time while flipping burgers to pay for it. That would be worth it in the long run. I can say my life would look much different right now if I didn't have student loan debt. And I would be able to feel much better prepared if I could direct the funds that are currently used to pay my loan payments towards other things.
With regards to being prepared for any kind of SHTF type of future scenario: I propose that awareness, willingness to work and participate in a community are the best assets needed. Beyond that, if a college student today were to manage his or her personal financial affairs in such a way as to spend less than they make, they would be far ahead of most people. If the student truly wants to do something career wise that may or may not be able to be used to generate income or directly contribute to a community, I would say go ahead. Just avoid student loan debt. Most students participate in some sort of extracurricular activity. Why not use that for more practical preparedness, such as a community garden?
What would you have done with the information here if you had learned about it prior to going to college? That might be something to think about.
Any engineering training will always pay off, as long as you are flexible in the kind of work you take. It also means you may be positioned to work for yourself rather than an employer, which avoids a lot of those 'I have to find a job' problems and gives you more freedom. Since most of the US is thinking this economic dislocation is merely temporary (it's not), you will be way ahead of the game in adaptation, and your writing shows you're smart and well educated (again, most people are woefully illiterate, even in the States. If it's more complicated than a twitter, they seem unable to deal...)
You'll do fine; just put together a loosely or tightly connected 'tribe' of like minded individuals with complimentary skill sets, and realize that while some things will revert back to simpler times, technology and medicine will keep advancing, to a point. And I'd like to apologize for my generation (the boomers) for the mess we've left you. Someone needs to figure out how to permanently get the sociopaths out of power...
I would have to agree with signalfire, engineering training allows for fair flexibility. My own engineering degree is in aerospace, but my current systems engineering position has little to do with that. Some employers for entry level engineers or technicians are willing to be flexible regarding your specific education background (they know that training to fill the position will be necessary in any case). Later on specific skills and education become more important, but even then you can cross disciplines at times. It's all in how you sell yourself on your resume and interview. An ability to quickly pick up skills and knowledge is often as important than already knowing said skills and knowledge (because you have to keep learning to keep up with changes in technology!).
Personally, I am not counting on employment more than a year or two from now, and am saving money now to put towards going into business for myself at that point. Any education and skills that can help you go into business for yourself will be more valuable than anything else I think. And no I don't believe it's too late to start a 2 or 4 year education right now. IMO the most probable future scenarios, while likely being very difficult, are still going to need the basics of our modern civilization (heat, power, telecommunications, etc.). In my view, if you're able to support one of those needs either employed by someone else or doing it on your own, you'll have your ticket to the future
Since more than 20 million people have seen these "Did You Know (Shift Happens)" videos, I'd be surprised if no one has posted it yet, but just in case:
The video certainly does a good job, in my opinion, of demonstrating the futility of trying to pin down precise expectations for the future. Change is simply happening too fast. Formal education is obviously important, but I also recommend self educating, as you're evidently already doing, since there's so much important stuff our educational system chooses to ignore. I didn't see the other thread, but I agree with those who told you to pursue what interests you most. Not only does that make life more enjoyable, but let's be honest - you're never going to be able to compete with people who are passionate about what they do, unless you share their passion.
I guess the one thing we can count on is change. Metaphorically speaking, while it's nice to have things all mapped out, make sure you bring your GPS along, and be prepared to reset the coordinates - possibly often!
local group for exchanging info and support within The Netherlands
Men's or Women's groups/circles
Indiana Local Chapter
People interested in investing time and money to create a more resilient set of local economies in Humboldt County, California.
A group based in the greater Albuquerque area to discuss and live in resiliency