President Obama's $12 billion American Graduation Initiative — announced in July — aims to help millions more Americans earn degrees and certificates from community colleges. The president wants the United States to have, once again, the highest proportion of college graduates in the world. Along with the administration, economists and many students and parents embrace the notion that higher education offers the most promising ticket to financial security and upward mobility. However, some argue that many young people are ill-prepared or unmotivated to get a four-year degree and should pursue apprenticeships or job-related technical training instead. The debate is casting a spotlight on trends in high-school career and technical education — long known as vocational education — and raising questions about the ability of the nation's 1,200 community colleges to meet exploding enrollment demand.