When I was growing up, community colleges were referred to only as “junior colleges” and they were seen as undesirable options, only for those who couldn’t cut it academically or financially to enroll at a 4-year school. I thought about this while driving by a community college that had several students scaling telephone poles working on the electrical boxes. How we need their skills!

I wonder how many people were (and still are) forced into a school or a job for which they are ill-suited just because they were pushed into a prescribed school or major. The expectations are high to “go to college” when many would be better off in so many ways if they pursued vocational training and a tactile career. We need to applaud those electricians, technicians, and mechanics for the value they add to our communities and make technical training as viable as college.

Language matters — and not just when talking about education choices. Carefully choose your words when trying to offer any array of options lest implicit bias creeps into your descriptions and makes one alternative seem subliminally more desirable than another.

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