Erie County politicians have latched onto the community college bandwagon in the hope it will lead to votes in upcoming elections. They want voters to believe it’s the only way to get technical training or a college degree if the path to college is financially out of reach, but it’s not. Erie County taxpayers have already funded, through their federal taxes, some of the best technical training available anywhere, it’s what you can get by enlisting in one of the many branches of the United States military.
An incredible array of opportunities
What do you picture in your mind when you think of our armed forces? One of the first things would be the many different kinds of technical equipment used by the men and women who wear the uniform. Every piece of that equipment has to be maintained and repaired and who do you think does that? It’s the men and women in the military who have gone through extensive technical training to not only operate the equipment, but to make sure it works perfectly.
What do you want to work on? Your MOS (Military Occupational Specialty) could include work on trucks, tanks and vehicles of all kinds, helicopters, jet fighters and jet engines, computers and electronics, even nuclear power plants. There’s tremendous variety. Not only do you get extremely good, in depth training, you get paid while you learn! Then after you complete your training, you are assigned to a duty station where you’ll get to practice your new skills and gain experience in an environment where you will be given more responsibility at a faster pace than in any civilian job.
What about college?
If you wish, you can take college courses while on active duty or you can wait until your service obligation has been completed when you can use your educational benefits to attend college full time to pursue a degree. You can also use them to get even more technical training.
Speaking from experience
My personal experience is an example, but it’s not unique in any way. When I graduated from high school, there was no money available for college or any other kind of technical training, but I was determined to learn the skills necessary to get ahead. I talked to recruiters from every branch of the military and enlisted in the Army. That led to a long and extensive school for electronics maintenance followed by a tour of duty where I had the opportunity to maintain and repair the many kinds of equipment I had been trained to work on. After my Army service was complete, I worked at a couple of technical jobs and then used the GI Bill to help pay for college, which resulted in earning a Bachelor’s degree and even better employment opportunities.
No community college, no scholarships, no network of influential connections to pull strings, just joining the military and agreeing to serve in return for training and benefits. Today, the very same people the community college is aimed at can do what I and hundreds of thousands of others have done. All it takes is ambition, determination and perseverance.
Our young people need to hear this
Our political figures and school counselors are doing students and high school graduates a terrible disservice by not emphasizing the opportunities in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The training is top notch, the experience you’ll get is something you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life and a local community college is a poor substitute for the excellent schools offered by our United States military. There’s no need to sit around waiting for something to happen, talk to a recruiter today and see what opportunities are waiting for you right now.