Sunday, October 25, 2015

Getting Smart

Higher education holds out some promise for getting us away from the canyon our economy is stumbling toward.  Canyon is an apt metaphor since the easiest way to stay or get out is orthogonal to the slope that you might tumble down.  When the direction that worked for awhile leads to danger, maybe there will be enough smart people around to understand that we need to change course.

Such critical thinking is rare and difficult to engender with many of the higher education programs currently available.  Non-traditional education and online groups may be better.

Here in Southern Maryland, they are pressing on with business-as-usual in the groundbreaking for a new community college campus in Hughesville, central to our tri-county area.  With the higher education industry in crisis partly due to overleveraging their student portfolios with debt slaves, many colleges will be unable to continue as before.  Community colleges will suffer less than many of the 4-year schools, but even they are at risk when they buy into poorly conceived estimates of strong economic growth such as the Bureau of Labor Statistic's projected > 20% increase in demand for construction industry trades over the coming decade.

I hope the College of Southern Maryland's new Center for Trades and Energy Training will turn 90 degrees before we tumble down the canyon and that they will prepare our workforce for building smaller, renewably energized, and resilient accommodations for a future that includes a lot more time in the outdoors.

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