The Need for Post-Secondary Education…

Youths Without Any Post-Secondary Education Face Tough Jobs Picture


Following earlier reports on the Associated Press-Viacom survey, which assessed education and workforce issues among US youths, the AP (4/22) reports, “The nation’s economic upheaval has been especially hard on young people trying to start their working lives with a high school education or less.” Two thirds are unable to find full-time work, and 40% are unemployed altogether. However, “they still believe in the power of higher education,” and “nearly three-fourths say they aspire to return to the classroom someday, either for trade school or college.”

        However, the job picture is improving for recent graduates. USA Today  (4/22, Kendall) reports, “Employers plan to hire 19.3% more recent graduates this year, says a report by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.” This marks a significantly better employment environment than graduates have seen the past few years. “The top-paying major for the class of 2011 is chemical engineering,” while accounting majors will see the greatest number of overall opportunities. The article details the differences in employment demand in different areas of the country, noting, for example, that “the Midwest is seeing an increase in manufacturing, information technology and sales openings.”

The need for education beyond a high school diploma has become much more of a “need” in today’s workplace versus a “want.”  As indicated in the article above, without the gaining of some post-secondary training, the employment options for these individuals is very limited. 

A common phrase/belief is that “you need to go college to be successful.”  And in many ways, I firmly believe this to be true.  However, my definition of college is 1-year, 2-year, 4-years and beyond.  There are great employment opportunities, with high paying jobs, for students with a 1-year or 2-year degree from a Technical College and the placement rates for these skilled positions are at an all-time high.  We need to remind ourselves that the need for post-secondary education is a must, but that this education may only need to be 1 or 2 years.

Eric Ripley, Career & Technical Education Coordinator

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