Today, we put so much emphasis on the need for a college degree, constantly reminding high school students to get good grades, participate in activities, and score high on their ACT so they can get into a good university. Rarely do we educate teenagers on trade schools or going straight into the workforce, because we have been brainwashed to believe there is no adequate future for those who choose this path. What truly happens to those who take this path, though? Are people capable of working their way up the work world ladder without a college education?
Scot Klump, of Crescent City, Illinois, was born and raised in Adams County, Ohio where he raised tobacco, crops, and cattle and milked cows with his uncle. He spent his final two years in high school in a cooperative vocational school program learning about farm business management before graduating and heading for basic training. For two years, he served as a 63 Tango Mechanic in Germany, inspecting and servicing track and wheeled vehicles. When he arrived back in the United States, he began working as a Farm Hand and Machinery Mechanic for a farmstead where he stayed for ten years.
In 2004, he moved to Illinois to become a Grain Elevator Operator for a past supervisor from the farmstead he had spent years working at. As time passed Scot worked his way up in the company, becoming the Outside Grain Superintendent and is currently the Location Manager for Wheatfield Grain Holding Company LLC in Crescent City and Onarga, Illinois. Scot said, “I proved I could do whatever task they put in front of me and constantly asked questions about the company,” when discussing how he got to where he is today.
According to AgCareers, an Associates or a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture Business or Marketing is preferred for a Grain Elevator Manager. Scot mentioned that some grain elevators would not hire or even consider hiring someone without a degree. When hiring new employees, Scot and his supervisor do not specifically look for someone with a degree because “experience is more important. If someone is willing to learn, they deserve the job. If they’re not willing to learn or put in the effort, regardless of having a degree, they should not be hired.”
So, if someone is eager to learn about the job and is willing to put in work, they should be more than qualified for a wide array of employment opportunities. Scot discussed that “people are capable of being self-educated,” and just because someone spent hours in a classroom does not mean they know what they are doing. Some people may pick up a wrench in high school and be the most educated person in mechanics by the time they are thirty and they have never stepped foot on a college campus. Scot talked about how “some [employers] look at resumes and assume that since the applicant doesn’t have a degree, they’re stupid,” when that is not the case.
A degree does not make a person educated. It should not determine whether or not they are qualified for a career. Their work ethic should. Now is the time to start educating high schoolers that going to college is not the only choice. People are capable of making a living without formal education, all they need is a good work ethic and positive attitude.