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Catskills - Sullivan County - Ulster County Real Estate -- Catskill Farms Journal

Old School Real estate blog in the Catskills. Journeys, trial, tribulations, observations and projects of Catskill Farms Founder Chuck Petersheim. Since 2002, Catskill Farms has designed, built, and sold over 250 homes in the Hills, investing over $100m and introducing thousands to the areas we serve. Farms, Barns, Moderns, Cottages and Minis - a design portfolio which has something for everyone.

July 4, 2024

Trades, rebranded

4th of July, with the 3rd delivering two closings as previously reported.  But just because they are on the books doesn’t mean every closing happens, since things going sideways is the nature of the business.  However, for us, with a skill team ranging from lawyers to carpenters to administrators, we are pretty good as bring them home when scheduled.

The mini-barn, which Josh and Jennifer owned since 2015, has resold by my real estate company, Lazy Meadows.  The mini-barns are fun houses, with a ton of style.

Ranch 69 also sold to Arlen and Sydney, and that 2500 sq ft Ranch on a bunch of acres turned out really sweeeet.

With no new starts recently, we are juggling the fewest amount of homes under construction since 2019/early 2020.  That’s fine with me.  The heavy llft daily 3 page to do lists can bend your back after awhile, and 24 years is by any definition ‘a while’. 

Back to a little more trade v college discussion.  I’m a reader, and attribute much of my economic forward progress to reading and writing, developed by reading and writing - communication is important.  So, as parents and students rightfully and intelligently shy away from large loads of student loan debt and degrees with value in the marketplace, the ability to pivot into trade schools, community colleges, and specific industry programs like programming that take 9 months should become more measurable. 

1, that’s good.  However, there seems to be a lane for this early career track to be complimented with some liberal arts education.  Two things - the non-4 year college track needs to be rebranded, from ‘trades’ to something else, like the ‘accelerated career’ path.  “Trades” just doesn’t capture all the jobs being put into that basket, under that umbrella.  Barbers, programmers, welders, home theater, landscape design, some nursing, seamstresses, musicians, auto mechanics, photography - this isn’t captured well by the generic ‘trades’.  The 2nd thing is that a liberal arts intro to history, english, or whatever - just the exposure to ideas, thinking, a broadening of perspective - if those who choose the accelerated career path want to escape the stigma of the ‘trade’ brand, then they have to start acting the part, and adding some wider learning into their program. 

It’s early on the 4th, and I feel the ideas above are poorly articulated, but it’s a start.

It’s stupid when a person feels compelled not to recognize deficiencies in their arguments, and there are certainly deficiencies to any argument that throws shade on the college experience with nuance.  Education - direct and indirect- , networking, exposure to new ideas, getting away from the hometown, peer enhancement - all these by-products of higher education have value.

But at what cost?  $50k of debt?  $100k of debt?  An environment now that emphasisizes the ‘college experience’ as much as the education?  Education costs have accelerated far beyond what market forces would allow, and it’s all because of the predatory lending programs aimed at clueless kids and parents who want to help their kids succeed - so in some very simple ways, college has become a scam to over-hype their value, and over-charge as a result, and have a government that hasn’t produced a good regulatory framework around student loans.  And then a full 40% or more don’t finish college, or take more than 4 years.

The Crimson Crier | Student Loans and How to Avoid College Debt

The pressure to accept the most prominent college offer, regardless of cost, because it can be paid for with loans, needs to change, since few if any future jobs will depend on ‘where’ you get you degree, so dialing into a smart financial choice is important.

There are more ‘trade’ jobs - interesting and creative - out there now then ever before, and they are unfilled, they have significant advancement opportunities, they pay well, and the path forward through these careers are easy to see.

I value education.  I think reading opens up all sorts of worlds - both creative and practical.  I actually wouldn’t wish a narrow path of curriculum on anyone, knowing what I know now and understanding the impact of a broad education, which promotes empathy, context, sympathy and general understanding of space and time. 

A lot of words to have come full circle without even a hint of problem resolution.

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