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Nov 14, 201701:04 PMMaking Madison

with Buckley Brinkman

Finally, recognizing career success can be found outside a 4-year degree

(page 2 of 2)

The conversation FINALLY changed last week during a lunch with Joe (his real name) and another friend. We were discussing careers, how they would evolve, and the best ways to prepare for those future careers. Of course, our talk took the usual path — my friend’s children were going to a traditional college, but …

That’s when Joe spoke up. His story started the same way. He encouraged his kids to consider a wide range of options and his first son became a lawyer. Then the plot changed.

Joe’s other two sons took different paths. Both rejected traditional four-year college and pursued their particular interests. Phillip took advanced placement classes in high school and graduated with his diploma plus an associate degree in mechanics from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC). After graduation, he earned a second degree in bodywork and now holds a terrific job plying his trade with the U.S. Postal Service.

Michael also took his own road — a dual path. He attended NWTC and earned his degree in computer technology. Then, he joined the Army Reserves and took almost every computer class they offered and broadened his capabilities. Michael will leave the reserves next year, with a great portfolio and ready for his next challenge.

FINALLY one of my friends was walking the talk. It was his two sons who created terrific careers without four-year degrees or crushing student debt. Both sons hold family-supporting jobs and their options for the future are wide open. Oh yeah — the lawyer is doing well, too.

Maybe we are finally reaching full-acceptance of alternative paths to success!

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Nov 14, 2017 04:51 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

Says the guy with the following credentials, " A Wisconsin native, Brinkman holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School." This irony is not lost on me...

Nov 15, 2017 11:43 am
 Posted by  Anonymous

The message needs to be simple, be a life-long learner and continue to learn new things for career success. We shouldn't be pushing every kid into a four year degree; career success is not dependent one this one path!

Nov 16, 2017 03:11 pm
 Posted by  Anonymous

I agree completely. The only catch is most employers, specifically, HR persons, do not agree and typically push aside people for certain roles simply because they do not have a four-year degree. Even if the open position is better suited for someone with a technical degree.

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About This Blog

Buckley Brinkman is executive director and CEO of the Wisconsin Center for Manufacturing & Productivity and writes about the manufacturing sector in Greater Madison and throughout Wisconsin. He has a breadth of experience in helping companies drive growth, world-class competitiveness, and performance excellence, and has led efforts to save dozens of operations in the U.S. by finding new ways for them to compete. A Wisconsin native, Brinkman holds a business degree from the University of Wisconsin and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

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