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Mr.  David  Ray
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Principal's Corner

High School and Career Planning


One of my goals as I took on the job of Principal at Bradford Area High School was to improve our students’ preparation for life after high school. As students, parents, community members, and educators, we need to remember that the ultimate goal of high school is to make students ready to go on to post secondary education and/or a high paying, in-demand careers. We can’t lose sight of this.

So, what is “college and career ready”? Reading, writing, and math skills are non-negotiable. Today’s high paying, high demand jobs expect these skills in all workers. Employers also expect employees to collaborate as part of a team and be able to make decisions. Independence is important. Employees have to be able to do excellent work without close supervision. Also remember, almost every job in today’s economy requires basic computer skills. Finally, there are job specific skills. Most, but not all, high paying jobs require technical or post secondary training.

Also remember, most high paying jobs don’t require four year college degrees. At the same time that 26% recent college graduates are unemployed or underemployed, there are unfilled local jobs in the areas of healthcare, engineering, manufacturing, and energy (i.e. oil & gas) production. Many of these jobs require two year degrees or technical school certification. Some require only the willingness to work hard and have an excellent work ethic.

Students and parents, I’d ask that you look closely at in-demand jobs when choosing high school courses and college majors. Tuition rates for in-state public universities average over $21,000 a year. Tuition rates at private universities average over $42,000 a year. (And remember, tuition rates are increasing about 8% a year.) Research and ask honestly, "Are there jobs in this career field?" Many students may find that two year degrees and technical certifications give them better access to high paying jobs and leave them with much less student debt.

And then there’s the issue of the skilled trades. ..these “hands-on” jobs are the hardest to fill. Carpenters, electricians, plumbers, automotive technicians, and machinists are among the trades in this category. These are high paying, high skill jobs and yet America can’t find enough people to fill these positions.

Don’t believe me, call a plumber and ask if they can stop by this afternoon and fix your leaking sink.



Still don’t believe me, here are some links to some more information:

Ten hardest to fill jobs in America:


Mike Rowe from “Dirty Jobs” on the need for jobs in the skilled trades:

High Priority Jobs in Pennsylvania: (This is long, but gives you the best explanation of any of these links.):