Grayslake Central Says Choose the Color of Your Own Collar


Rocco Bowser, Staff Reporter

People entering the workforce have been historically faced with the decision to become, in a traditional sense, a blue or white collar worker for years. Blue collar workers and positions, defined by Investopedia as “individuals who engage in hard manual labor” have been seen as undesirable and financially unstable. White collar workers, defined by Workable, a talent acquisition company, are “those who work in an office,”  and have been historically respected and considered the “right path” to live comfortably and be respected. As the decades passed and more people got traditional, “white collar” office jobs, the attitude around blue collar work changed, and a new era ushered in workers ready to repopulate blue collar companies. The Bureau of Labor & Statistics estimated a 12% growth in the field of construction this year, evidence that interest in blue-collar work is rising. With that 12% growth, the BLS reported about 41% of the workforce will be retired by 2031. That leaves a major gap in the labor pool, and Grayslake Central recognizes that.

Kellan Price, a counselor at Grayslake Central, notes that there are multiple paths for students to take and that “opportunities are growing exponentially.” Students at Grayslake Central are offered an extremely large variety of classes and programs to explore many industries as they advance. Students are then encouraged to “do work they find meaningful,” said by Price. Meghan Lynn, a Career and Technology teacher at Central, said about the attitude of the school, “there is less of a… push for white collar, push for blue collar, and more ‘what is your interest?’”

There is a long list of traditional white collar classes like entrepreneurship, accounting and business and personal law. Blue collar classes consist of wood working, metal working and small engines, but there is also the TECH program offered by the College of Lake County. Students are able to study collision repair, automotive, and welding at TECH. Although these are examples of traditional blue collar jobs, the reality  is that there is a gray area between blue and white collar jobs; the two don’t have the same distinction that they did 100 years ago. Since 1922 there has been a recognition and development of the broad spectrum of collars. Central and TECH make sure to allow students to explore these different fields with other classes like 3D modeling and Design, Cosmetology  and the culinary programs.

As these new fields have arisen Grayslake Central has also added new classes to their course discography. The recognition of these new careers has changed their involvement with students’ careers and began focusing on letting students explore the wide variety of professions they are able to pursue. Instead of trying to push out blue or white collar workers, Grayslake Central is attempting to let students place themselves in a career that they enjoy and find worth their time. Grayslake Central is a school where students are able to pick the color of their own collar.