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Skills that pay the bills … and redefine success | Peyton Holland | TEDxRaleigh


Path to Success

The path to success is a 4-year degree … or is it?  

When this talk was given in 2016, data showed that by 2020, 10 million jobs would go unfilled because there would not be enough people with the skills needed to fill them.  As of February 2023, there are over 10 million job openings, many of which are remaining unfilled due to a lack of skill.  For decades, we’ve told a story that places more value on a degree hanging on the wall than the skills needed to build that wall. As a result, we’ve created a “skills gap” that will impact all of us, from the cars we drive to the places we live and work. Respecting skill equally is a critical shift for all of us - whether it is a masters degree recipient or a master craftsman. Empowering students to explore their passions with their hands and mind can transform education and the economic fabric of our country.

Having grown up in rural North Carolina, Peyton learned the value of hard work and skill early in life. His father encouraged and taught him what it meant to be a student of life as well as the importance of technical and academic education. Peyton’s mission is to remind people of the value of skilled labor and its necessity.

Peyton has been involved in Career and Technical Education for over 20 years serves as the Executive Director of the National Technical Honor Society, a national non-profit that empowers students to pursue the skills needed to build their careers and celebrates those who do. He has devoted his career to helping build partnerships between education, industry and communities as he works to help students develop skills that will prepare them to be leaders in the workforce.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at