Non-Traditional Education for Today's Web 2.0 Consumer

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The stage has been set that traditionally defined education is antiquated and has evolved into a

No longer do individuals stand by and consume the products presented by commerce; conversely, consumers are entering the marketplace with power, consuming what they determine worthy of their attention. The marketplace has forever changed. The current and future markets will be a consumer-driven marketplace, including education.
The educational marketplace is no different. The earliest forms of education were restricted to the hierarchy of church and state. Our ancestry identified and feared the power of education. As society progressed, education remained available for only the select elite. Even today, the majority of education in developing countries is subversively reserved to the "have's" and restricted for the "have not's".

In 1964, the U.S. enacted the Higher Education Act and authorized Title IV funding, which literally allowed all those who desired education the opportunity to pursue their educational dreams, regardless of their financial position. The United States has become the world leader in higher educational exports. I would even suggest that the U.S. leads the world in higher education quality and output. It may very well be that our greatest contribution to the world is and will be our educational product(s).

Currently, post secondary students can be defined in five separate categories: traditional college bound students, semi-traditional college bound students, non-traditional college-bound students, non-college-bound students, and high school drop-outs.
  • Traditional, College-Bound, High School Graduates.
    These students have a professional and/or academic, college-bound track prepared when they were at least a junior in high school. They know the college/university they will be attending as an in-state or out-of-state student. They understand how and who is paying for their education, and they are prepared to enter college immediately in the fall of their high school graduation year with the full support and encouragement from their parent(s). These students are driven either voluntarily or involuntarily.

  • Semi-Traditional, College-Bound, High School Graduates.
    These high school students desire further post-secondary, academic, non-career specific education; however, they are not focused on any particular area of study. They generally enter the university system at the community college level with anticipated transfer into the university system at some time in the undefined future with full intentions of eventually seeking their bachelor's degree. This student may or may not have parental support; however, they are not fully aware of how they are going to pay their tuition at their local public university and/or community college.

  • Non-Traditional, College-Bound, High School Graduates.
    These high school graduates seek further career-specific education and training but seek this in the form of industry or hands-on training and learning. The term "college-bound" is somewhat misleading because the term "college" has never been an option for these students. For whatever reason, either self worth or financial, these students never considered themselves entering any formal academic, educational institution at the post-secondary level; however, further training has always been an option. These student's willingness and desire to learn more, generally in the trades, has always been an option. These students are generally hard workers with an average or above average intelligence.

  • Non-College-Bound, High School Graduates.
    These high school graduates leave school for good the day they graduate, "never to learn another thing." However, their youth and inexperience catches up with them in their late twenties and early thirties. They realize that education and training are their only option to advance in pay. They begin to seek out hands-on educational training programs that can further them in their current career, or they begin to seek other career avenues that are less physically demanding and that will provide a more stable future.

  • High School Drop-Outs.
    These students left high school due to a lack of intelligence and/or independence and life requirements, forcing them from completing high school. Many end up seeking their GEDs in their twenties after realizing their lack of judgment in high school. They realize that education and training are their only option to advance in pay. They begin to seek out hands-on educational training programs that can further their current careers, or they begin to seek other career avenues that are less physically demanding and that will provide a more stable future.

The National Association of Heavy Equipment Schools, NAHETS, serves those that are underserved currently with higher educational opportunities. The demand for this niche market is evidenced by the success of NAHETS and its member campuses.

About the Author

Matt Klabacka founded the National Association of Heavy Equipment Training Schools (NAHETS) in 2006. He saw the need for an educational organization dedicated to the heavy equipment operator training programs. Matt has an accomplished history in the education industry, NAHETS being the latest. He is a happily married family man and serves his community in various ways. See for more information.
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