Some Young People Bypass College for a Marcellus Shale Job

A columnist in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette asks the question, “Should young people consider putting off college in order to work a job in the Marcellus Shale?” And the surprising answer is, “Maybe.” She recounts her random run-in with a young man in the Pittsburgh airport who was flying home to visit his parents, as he does regularly. His job? Laying pipeline in the Marcellus Shale. Her point was that in a time of economic uncertainty like we are in, putting off college for a while and working in the shale gas industry may be the right choice for some young people.

…in our rapidly shifting economy, all bets are off. Things are changing much too fast for any of the old formulas to hold true — even those learned just 30 years ago with the steel industry’s near-demise.

If there are no hard-and-fast rules, then parents and kids should feel freer than ever to pursue the path that works best for them. The often-outrageous cost of gaining a college degree — or two — has to be weighed against the economic return on your investment. (Unless you study for the joy of learning. In which case, a library card is still cheaper.)

If a kid isn’t sure about college, and if Marcellus jobs offer an average annual salary of $76,000 to those willing to work hard, why not postpone college while earning and saving enough to pay for it?*

Why not indeed!

*Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Oct 24, 2011) – Pass on college for a Marcellus job? Maybe

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