The Collège Saint-Joseph le Travailleur is making trades fashionable again, while limiting student loans to a minimum.
A new Catholic college offers degree and business education at a price that won’t leave graduates suffocating in student debt. Saint-Joseph Ouvrier College in Steubenville, Ohio, strives to integrate intellectual and spiritual life with physical labor. The school attracts students with the slogan: “Learn a trade, earn a degree, and graduate without crushing debt.”
In its mission statementthe college explains that it seeks to restore the inherent dignity of manual labor, with Christ and his earthly father Saint Joseph as models. They eschew outdated ideas that laborious labor is “ignoble” and they refer to the writings of Pope Saint John Paul IIwho transmitted in his Laborem exercises:
“Christianity brought about a fundamental change of ideas in this area, taking as its point of departure the whole content of the Gospel message, in particular the fact that he who, while being God, has become like us in all things, has consecrated the greatest years of his life on earth in manual labor at the carpenter’s workbench. (#26)
Following the advice of John Paul II, the College reiterates that the spiritual traditions of Christianity call us all to follow this example of Christ by undertaking physical labors. The college recalls that “the Word became flesh and picked up a hammer. To imitate Christ, we must do the same.
Collège Saint-Joseph Ouvrier sees its mission as providing an environment conducive to the spiritual development of students, while providing society with faithful workers who have been trained in thought as well as in their trades.
Saint-Joseph Ouvrier College currently offers three educational streams. The simplest of these is a craft certificate course, which lasts one year. This track will cover the basics of the five trades on offer, which include carpentry, HVAC, electrical, plumbing and masonry. This track allows students to explore all areas offered before deciding on a primary focus.
The certificate program is designed to help students identify their vocations. Students who decide to progress to a BA in a chosen field will be able to do so seamlessly from this one-year course. At an affordable price of $15,000 for the entire study yearit is the perfect course for students who wish to defer for a year in order to identify their talents.
Students who decide not to pursue a trade will not have to worry about transferring to another college. The College’s second pathway allows students who have completed the first-year certificate pathway to seamlessly transition into a 3-year bachelor’s degree program that offers a rigorous education in the Catholic intellectual tradition. This track is ideal for “those who are called upon to work in an office, operating room or courthouse – and still want to get familiar with a workshop”.
Finally, the Craftsman Track is their most intensive program. This six-year course will enable students to obtain a baccalaureate in Catholic studies and begin their apprenticeship in a trade. Apprenticeships will take students to real job sites and pay them for their work.
Students who take this course load will emerge equipped with Journeyman-level skills in their chosen trade.and will also be familiar with the ins and outs of the college’s other business offerings.
Collège Saint-Joseph le Travailleur appreciates its Catholic offerings, which all students participate in. They explain that every student, regardless of their field, will earn a BA in Catholic Studies, which instills an understanding that reason is fulfilled by faith. They write:
“So our curriculum is not divided into ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’ pursuits – standard secular economics here, theology there. On the contrary, everywhere, in all our studies, our reason is healed and perfected by our faith. Classes will cover everything from scripture, metaphysics and epistemology to history, economics and mathematics, always with an eye on the three unique dimensions of the secular vocation: work, family and politics. .
Students will not only encounter religious education in the classroom, but also in various aspects of campus life. On its website, the college offers daily mass, regular confession and perpetual adoration at the local parish. They explain that students will not only interact with other students, but also with “enthusiastic priests, role model spouses, and troublesome children.”
This is the inaugural year of Collège Saint-Joseph Ouvrier, and they have not yet been officially accredited. In an interview with The College Fix, spokesperson Alex Renn noted that the college cannot be officially accredited until it graduates first class. He said:
“We are not accredited yet, because part of the accreditation process is getting a degree for a student, so we cannot be accredited until someone has completed our program,” he said. he stated in his email. “Having said that, of course we are working on accreditation.”
The school is starting slowly, with a first class of 30 students who will begin learning their trades in the fall of 2023, but they expect there will be plenty of room for growth. They also note that they are not going anywhere, because they have already raised enough funds to support a sustainable model this will ensure that the College of St. Joseph the Worker will be around for decades to come.