When I immigrated to the U.S. from the U.K. back in 1983, I arrived proudly with a beauty school diploma that would let me get licensed in California and ultimately have a career. Yet, when people would ask what college I went to, and I replied that I didn't - I went to beauty school, I could see their confusion and even disdain. Over the past 30 years, this elitism has only gotten worse; there is less respect for skillset training and - despite an increase in tuitions and debilitating student debt - a collective narrative that we must go to a four-year college to be successful.
It's about time the tides start changing! In an economic speech delivered in Michigan last week, Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton acknowledged that skill-based education has been overlooked and undervalued, declaring, "It's crucial that every American have access to the education and skills they need to get the jobs of the future." She went on to emphasize, "A four-year degree should not be the only path to a good job in America. You should be able to learn a skill, practice a trade, and make a good living doing it." Needless to say, I'm with Her.
As the proud owner of beauty school diploma, who has started, grown, and scaled a business that today has a footprint across more than 100 countries and trains more than 100,000 skin therapists per year, I know first-hand the importance of purpose-driven education. I succeeded in doing what loved and helped others do the same, all because I have a skill set in my hands that allowed me to work.
Skillset training is only going to become more important in the coming years: job growth across skill-based industries continues to rise year after year. More than half the jobs that will be available in 2020 won't require a four-year college degree, but 65% will require training beyond high school. Purpose-driven education allows men and women the opportunity compete for better-paying jobs in the workforce or to become entrepreneurs, moving from job-seeker to job-creator. I believe it's key to creating equality, especially in countries such as the United States where the middle class is dwindling.
In June, I was honored to be recognized as a Presidential Ambassador of Global Entrepreneurship. A collaboration between the White House, the Department of Commerce and entrepreneurs in the private sector, this appointment will give me a greater platform to support entrepreneurship via purpose-driven education in the United States and around the world. It's an exciting step in creating opportunity and challenging the narrative around skill set education.