By Larry Hohl
Larry Hohl“You can be anything you want when you grow up!”

This familiar phrase has been passed down through the years to children as a way to empower them to dream BIG.

Are you ready for a reality check?

Take a moment to ask yourself, “Do I really mean it when I tell my child they can be anything?”

If you answered “YES,” kudos! Given today’s evolving workforce, more parents need to be open-minded to a multitude of careers for their kids.

Why is this so important?

Industry reports tell us more than 50 percent of college graduates are underemployed, while in technical fields, jobs far outpace the number of qualified candidates to fill them and often don’t require a college degree. This new reality means we must shift our thinking.

What can you do to help your child achieve career success?

1. Talk to your child. Discuss their passions and interests as early as middle school so you focus on an occupation that fits, rather than what college they go to.

2. Do research. Since a college degree is no longer a sure ticket to a rewarding career, parents have to think about return on investment. The U.S. Department of Education’s College Scorecard offers graduation rates and long-term earnings data for students of most postsecondary schools.

3. Think about the future. While college is right for many kids, others could benefit from quality career technical education (CTE) programs, which are designed to give students the skills and hands-on experience employers want. As parents, we have to be willing to look at these programs. Above all, we must open our hearts to the many paths of success for our kids.

Larry Hohl is the campus president of Universal Technical Institute (UTI) – Long Beach. UTI is a leading provider of post-secondary education for students seeking careers as professional automotive, diesel, collision repair, motorcycle and marine technicians, and sponsor of the consulting firm Wilcap L.L.C.’s white paper “Preparing Our Students for Career Success: What Parents Should Know.”