'Free college only deepens the class divide': electrician's op-ed blasts credentialism
'If you had offered me a full ride to go to college at that time, it would have been about as useful as trying to heal a gunshot wound with Neosporin...'
'Free college only deepens the class divide, perpetuating the belief that you need a college degree to be productive and provide meaningful insight as an American employee.'
Skyler Adleta, a Cincinnati electrician, has blasted the idea of free college, stating that it would only worsen America’s class divide.
In a recent Newsweek op-ed, Adleta shared his experience with both higher education and blue-collar work, stating that it was the latter, rather than the former, that pulled him out of poverty.
“If you had offered me a full ride to go to college at that time, it would have been about as useful as trying to heal a gunshot wound with Neosporin. I needed surgery, not a salve,” he said.
Adleta previously endured such extreme poverty that he was living in his car.
“Even without the cost of tuition, there was no way I would have been able to work full time, go to school full time, and claw my way out of the pit of poverty I was in.”
Instead, Adleta found his road past financial hardship when he left college and earned employment at a factory. This job not only helped him gain a sense of responsibility, but also earned him enough money to buy a home and support his wife through her college career.
However, the factory for which Adleta worked still had its obstacles for those without a college degree.
“I eventually found out that the factory was not free of the barriers created when a person doesn’t possess the ‘proper paperwork,’” he wrote.
“The factory that gave me my start wouldn’t promote anyone beyond an equipment operator position without a degree. It was a sign for me that it was time to leave, and that’s when I began a career in construction.”
The electrician praised the construction industry as “one of the last remaining industries that…is still dominated by the experienced as opposed to the college educated.”
“If you work hard, you can rise through the ranks, which is what I did,” he noted. After his electrical apprenticeship, which was paid for by his employer, Adleta was promoted to project manager.
Adleta also pushed back on the idea of free tuition, stating, “The answer here isn’t free college; it’s industries … ridding themselves of college requirements for positions where working experience can suffice.”
“Is it truly fair to impose a perpetually growing tax hike on Americans so that their neighbors might get degrees that they arguably shouldn’t need for many of the positions that currently require them?,” he asks.
“Free college only deepens the class divide, perpetuating the belief that you need a college degree to be productive and provide meaningful insight as an American employee.”
In conclusion, Adleta wrote, “Perhaps instead we should give in to the spirit of pragmatism and have faith in the idea that talent can bloom within those who have attained a higher education as well as those who have been exposed to wisdom through experience.”
Campus Reform has contacted Adleta for comment and will update this story accordingly.