A four-year college degree is the only gateway to the middle class and that should not be the case, former Labor Secretary Robert Reich told CNBC on Tuesday.
"Many of our young people should be able to have other routes to the middle class that are alternatives to a four-year liberal arts degree," he said in an interview with "Street Signs."
Reich, now a professor at the University of California at Berkeley, first tackled the issue in his blog, noting that too many young people leave college mired in debt and without good jobs. Others drop out because they are unprepared for the curriculum.
Instead, many who may not be suited for college could thrive in a "world-class technical and vocational educational system," he told CNBC.