Note: This is an unedited analysis of a Remapping Debate article that was posted as a project for an introduction to newswriting and reporting class at Sac City College in 2011. It does not represent my current work as a journalist.
An article published on www.remappingdebate.org on Feb. 9 by Greg Marx, discussed why such a high number of college graduates who have earned Associate’s or Bachelor’s degrees have not been able to find jobs in their desired field in recent years.
The author’s main point was that in today’s economy in America, degrees are no longer guaranteed to help someone earn to their full potential. Because of rising costs, more women in the workplace, and cutbacks of middle class skill-based jobs – it is harder to find jobs that fit one’s degree specialization than it was in past decades. Still, those with bachelor’s degrees are maintaining higher wages than those that simply have high school diplomas. The issue lies more in the fact that these same degree holders aren’t able to work in their field.
The new way of the middle class job market has seen an increased need for post-secondary education and in many cases, special-skill training. The recessions in recent years have led to fewer jobs in the college labor job market. In other words, it is no longer a guarantee that a college degree will get you into a college level career.
One of the people interviewed in the article summed up the basic issue quite well. “There’s nothing that guarantees that supply [of college graduates] creates its own demand,” said Andrew Sum, director of the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University. “You’ve got to have more demand growth.”
According to the article there are many views for why this is happening. One view is that a lack of innovation is leading to fewer new jobs being created. Others say technology is at fault because as companies make better use of technology they no longer need as many employees. On the other hand there are those that feel education isn’t everything and that earning potential is reliant on one’s own abilities and skills.
Then there are those that oppose education as the answer to the problem and feel we should focus more on the on-the-job training aspect. They feel that the government should slowly raise minimum wage. Along with that, they say middle class jobs will become those that no longer need degrees, but still pay the amounts of money that degree holders have the potential to earn.
While I agree that there is definitely an issue here, I feel the solution lies in a mixture of a couple of ideas. Educating our population on not only job-related subjects and skills, but on the essential subjects such as history, science, and math among others is just as important. I don’t see why we can’t develop a system where education is about the general education but about on-the-job training just as much. Internships could earn you credits and take the place of formal classes. I also like the idea of having middle class jobs pay more but not need degrees. For example, why is a degree required for a management position at a retail store when it is such a skill-based occupation?