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A Modern Success Story

I had the privilege of working with a young Navy E4 Information Technology Technician. This young American joined the Navy to see the world and to kick-start his life. He served two duties aboard surface vessels and concluded his military service in Seoul, Republic of Korea with US Forces Korea, assigned to U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan.

This young man developed a brilliant plan to serve his country with one tour in the U.S. Navy, travel the world, save money, take the Post 9/11 GI bill and then explore options. He decided to become a commercial diver/welder and found the Diver’s Institute of Technology in Seattle Washington (visit website) After a 9 month hands on training course, the accredited Institute helps with career planning, interviews, and job placement.

I found out all this information during a mentoring session and I was blown away by his maturity and his extensive planning. I told him about the wonderful quote by Mike Rowe of the show “Dirty Jobs” and his foundation, Mr. Rowe stated something such as “young Americans are paying money they don’t have, for degrees they don’t need, in search of jobs that no longer exist.” I love this quote and use it as a mentoring slogan to educate young Americans about seeking career-ready skills which often aren’t found in traditional four-year academic university settings.

The Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS) reported that 7 million Americans were unemployed in June 2017, while at the same time 5.7 million jobs remained unfilled in America. This job gap exists because millions of potential employees don’t have the required career-ready skills, education and training.

So our young naval enlistee banked up $20,000 in savings, will use his GI-Bill to fully pay for his Commercial Diving Accreditation in a field that according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics has a mean hourly wage of $26.57 and mean annual wage of $55,270 and can go as high as $46.56 per hour or $96.850 annually (visit website) And if he works overseas (which he fully intends to do), the job and compensation opportunities will only increase.

So flipping Mike Rowe’s statement, our fine young American saved and banked extra money, found a way to fully fund his training for a rewarding career, to gain skills that are in very high demand, in a field that BLS projects a growth rate of 37% by 2024. Well done…Go NAVY!

So it can be done!

This is a much better path than the one mentioned by Mike Rowe…spending money you don’t have, in pursuit of a degree you don’t need, in search of a job that no longer exists. The recent stats are shocking:

  • $1.48 trillion in total U.S. student loan debt
  • 44.2 million Americans with student loan debt
  • Student loan delinquency rate of 11.2%

At Strive and Achieve, we believe there are better alternatives and we’re excited that we offered over $11,000 in scholarships to young Americans searching for career ready skills in non-traditional training and vocational programs. Please explore the attached links on how to apply for the scholarship.

I know at least one young American and Navy veteran that won’t need the scholarship, and who also knows that hard work is the path to a brighter future.

Young-Kun Yu


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