Earning while learning

Going to college for four years or more is great if one knows how he or she plans to earn a living after finishing their studies.

Some college majors lead to direct and obvious jobs. For example, education majors are trained to teach, accounting students learn how to be accountants, and computer science majors can work in the tech industry.

However, some majors do not lead to obvious jobs. While we admire those who major in English or art, there are no direct occupations connected to such studies. Career options also tend to be limited for those who major in fields such as women’s studies or classics.

Not only are some college majors difficult to mould into a career, the level of student debt continues to skyrocket. Unless one comes from a particularly affluent family or is successful in obtaining significant scholarship money, he or she will likely need to borrow some money to finish their degree.

In the last decade, New Hampshire saw its total student loan debt nearly double from $3.5 billion to a whopping $6.8 billion, a new study from Experian Consumer Services shows.

Also, 74 percent of students graduating from a college in New Hampshire this year are likely to be burdened with some level of debt, according to the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success, while the average debt is $34,415.

Considering these numbers, it is easy to see why some young people may want to consider alternative career options.

Starting with the 2019-20 academic term, 24 Milford High School students will have a unique opportunity that will allow them to simultaneously earn:

• High school credit,

• College credit,

• Experience working in industry and manufacturing, and

• $12 per hour.

The Manufacturing Exploration and Externship program will allow students to work with Spraying Systems Co. and Hitchiner Manufacturing Co. Inc.

Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Annie Kuster, D-N.H., toured the school. She said the Milford program is an example of how to give students a viable alternative to college.

“It is so oppressive for people with the burdens they have for college debt right now, and parents are overwhelmed,” Kuster said while speaking with students and staff members. “They’re wondering, ‘How can we possibly pay for this,’ and young people are coming out literally in hundred of thousands of dollars of debt.”

We agree with Kuster about programs such as the one at Milford. If the endeavor proves successful, we hope other high schools in Greater Nashua will consider similar programs.