College or Not?

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/01/12/pay-gap-between-college-grads-and-everyone-else-record/96493348/

Convincing parents and students to eschew college for a career in the trades appears to be a legitimate concern of many other businesses – not just those in commercial real estate.  According to a January 12, 2017 article in USA Today[1]: 

Americans with no more than a high school diploma have fallen so far behind college graduates in their economic lives that the earnings gap between college grads and everyone else has reached its widest point on record. 

College graduates, on average, earned 56% more than high school grads in 2015, according to data compiled by the Economic Policy Institute.  That was up from 51% in 1999 and is the largest such gap in EPI’s figures dating to 1973.

Yet few experts think the solution is simply to send more students to four-year colleges.  Many young people either don’t want to spend more years in school or aren’t prepared to do so.   Already, four in every 10 college students drop out before graduating — often with debt loads they will struggle to repay without a degree.

…labor economists say, many high school grads would benefit from a more comprehensive approach to obtaining skills, especially involving technology, that are increasingly in demand.  Some of these trends might eventually reverse themselves if more high school grads acquire the skills needed for higher-paying work.  Though many middle-income jobs don’t require college, nearly all require some post-high school education or training.

What [Georgetown University economist] Harry Holzer calls the “new middle” includes such health care jobs as X-ray technicians and phlebotomists, as well as computer-controlled manufacturing and some office occupations, like paralegals.  A typical X-ray technician, for example, earns nearly $60,000 a year and needs only a two-year degree, according to government data.

And these “new middle” positions are typically the same jobs for which employers have complained that they can’t find enough qualified people to fill.  Labor experts say the U.S. educational system is failing to help young people acquire such skills. 

If they know where to look, high school graduates can choose from among numerous options for vocational skills training — from two-year programs to online courses to for-profit schools.

It is important to recognize that this USAToday survey represented a “broad brush” overview of all careers for high school graduates.  Employees in the building engineering field are well compensated – certainly much higher than the average pay rate for high school graduates cited in the article.  With this in mind, the pay disparity between the “average” college graduate and those high school graduates who have well-paying careers in building engineering is probably not as significant as it is represented in the report.

Building Engineering Internship Program

Exciting, rewarding, high tech positions in building operations are available in the Washington, DC area, with PAID Internships for Summer 2018. Application Deadline is March 31!


Applications for Summer 2018 are now closed.


  • Do you like to know how things work and fix things?
  • Do family and friends come to you  when something they own breaks down?
  • Did you love Legos® as a kid?
  • Are you organized, curious, and willing to learn new technology?
  • Do you like to work with people and mentor others?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, a career in building engineering/operations might be for you! 

Building engineering professionals make up a critical component of the trillion-dollar commercial property management industry, and they are in high demand!

We’re talking about meaningfulsustainable careers with virtually unlimited opportunities for advancement.   Jobs in building engineering are stable, lucrative, and growth-oriented.

As an intern, you will receive valuable work experience and access to a wide network of professionals in this industry while being paid.

Applications are due by March 31, 2018. 

The Opportunity 

An eight-week, paid Internship program during the Summer of 2018 – in partnership with distinguished property management companies.

How it Works

Through a series of interviews in the spring, the Foundation will select up to 12 interns.  Interns will have the opportunity to join the staff of one of these prestigious real estate firms:

Interns – who will be paid $15 per hour – will work alongside experienced building engineers at office buildings in the region to learn more about this exciting career path.

In addition to full-time employment over the summer and hands on training, the AOBA Educational Foundation Internship Program includes a number of professional development programs to help you land a job – as soon as this fall.


Applications for Summer 2018 are now closed.