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[Susan notes: This letter speaks truth to parents. We need more of this.]

Published in Wall Street Journal

To the editor

As long as our children are brainwashed that a college degree is the ticket to success in the U.S., we will continue to have a construction labor-shortage "problem" and we will struggle to attract and retain employees for these "dirty jobs" ("Skilled Trades Seek Workers," Marketplace, Aug. 19). Parents, teachers and preachers need to be convinced that union construction careers provide living-wage and benefit packages and that they should be viewed as a post-secondary choice that is equal to, not less than, attending Harvard or Yale.

Many of our apprentices earn associate degrees while completing their apprenticeship programs. Parents should find comfort in the fact that their children would not only be college graduates but, more importantly, college graduates who make more than $50,000 per year upon graduation (debt free) and who can leverage their construction-related education and training experiences into advanced studies or related career opportunities. Take it from a former carpenter apprentice who recently earned a doctoral degree: When it comes to construction, the more you learn the more you earn.

John S. Gaal


Training & Workforce Development

Carpenters' District Council of Greater St. Louis & Vicinity

St. Louis

John S. Gaal

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