Bridges Project for Education column

At any age, you can benefit from career pathways and postsecondary education

By Mackenzi Frederick
For The Taos News
Posted 3/13/19

Children are commonly asked the question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" The conversation around it becomes even more important heading into middle and high school. That question is often …

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Bridges Project for Education column

At any age, you can benefit from career pathways and postsecondary education

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Children are commonly asked the question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" The conversation around it becomes even more important heading into middle and high school. That question is often followed by, "How do I get there?" Many adults still grapple with both these questions.

Pursuit of a Passion

Bridges wholeheartedly believes one of the most important choices any person can make - whether they're in high school, they've earned or are completing an High School Equivalency or they're a returning or prospective student - is to pursue an interest or passion wherever it leads. There are numerous ways to broaden one's horizons. We can tap into the experiences of our elders, spend time with children, get on the job training, find a mentor, become an apprentice or intern, or choose a more formal, structured educational setting. All these have intrinsic value.

Bridges doesn't place emphasis on one particular way of gaining knowledge or training. The point is to take proactive steps to create the life you dream about. We can help students of all ages begin connecting the dots between future aspirations and postsecondary paths that will help them attain their goals.

Careers

Skilled trades are lucrative and critical careers to pursue, since many carpenters, electricians, mechanics, plumbers and welders are nearing retirement and these professions are essential to keep infrastructures functioning. Apprenticeships, trade schools and community colleges provide a path to these professions. They often require certification at a minimum and some an associate degree. Scholarships, like the 2019 Work Ethic from Mike Rowe WORKS Foundation (think "Dirty Jobs"), help students who will be or are enrolled in a trade program fund their education at mikeroweworks.org/scholarship/.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the twenty fastest growing U.S. professions include solar photovoltaic installers, wind turbine service technicians and massage therapists. Other professions in the top occupations require more extensive postsecondary education. Software developers, forest fire specialists and information security analysts will aim for a bachelor's degree. Some on this list mandate a graduate or professional degree: nurse practitioners, physical therapists and genetic counselors. One (or more) of these occupations may be your answer to the question of "what?" If so, Bridges can help.

Benefits of Postsecondary Education

What are the advantages that researchers link to all types of postsecondary training and education? Workplace skills and job opportunities are direct benefits, and increased income, health advantages, community engagement via voting and volunteering, and self-assessed happiness are additional assets. When individuals succeed, they bring prosperity to their community: lower unemployment, increased business and job creation, and tax revenues funding programs and services like public education.

In addition, there are less obvious but equally important skills benefitting people throughout their careers and in life. These can be acquired anywhere, but are a natural outcome of postsecondary education. These include: writing and verbal communication; ease in asking questions, analysis and reflection; and exposure to new ideas and opportunities, which can lead to new interests and passions.

Bridges exists to help if your path includes vocational certifications, associate and bachelor's degrees. We strive to help our clients overcome obstacles that might be in their way. We assist people in navigating the process to enroll in a postsecondary program and offer support along the way. We help them find affordable programs and schools and access financial aid. Our goal is for students to incur minimal debt.

Visit our website to learn more. Our resources page shares information about the admissions and financial aid process and our blog posts scholarships and relevant information. Call (575) 758-5074 or email info@bridgesproject.org to schedule an appointment.

Mackenzi Frederick is college counselor and development coordinator for Bridges Project for Education.

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