Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Warning to high school students and recent graduates—Don’t even think about NOT going to college

The Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University released a major report today on jobs and education requirements from now through 2018.  The findings stand as a severe warning to any high school student or recent high school graduate who is considering NOT going to college.  Here are some excerpts from the report:
  • Our grandparents’ economy, which promised well-paying jobs for anyone who graduated from high school, is fading and will soon be altogether gone. Over the past three decades, higher education has become a virtual must for American workers. Between 1973 and 2008, the share of jobs in the U.S. economy which required postsecondary education increased from 28 percent to 59 percent. According to our projections, the future promises more of the same. The share of postsecondary jobs will increase from 59 to 63 percent over the next decade. High school graduates and dropouts will find themselves largely left behind in the coming decade as employer demand for workers with postsecondary degrees continues to surge
  • In our analysis of occupations, we find that nine out ten workers with a high school education or less are limited to three occupational clusters that either pay low wages or are in decline (Figure 1). As the economy gets back on track over the next five years, 60 million Americans are at risk of being locked out of the middle class, toiling in predominantly low-wage jobs that require high school diplomas or less.
  • Occupations with high levels of non-repetitive tasks, such as professional and managerial jobs, tend to require postsecondary education and training. These types of jobs are growing, while positions dominated by repetitive tasks that tend to require high school or less, like production jobs, are declining
  • As the economy evolved, postsecondary education gradually became the threshold requirement for access to middle class status and earnings. In the 37-year time frame shown in Fig­ure 3, the share of people in the middle class with some col­lege education and no degree or less, declined dramatically.
  • The day when people left high school to go to work in the local industry and then worked their way up is disappearing. Starting out, straight from high school, on the loading dock or in the mail room and climbing to the CEO’s corner office is no longer an option. People do not go to work in industries any more. They get educated or trained, go to work in occupations, and progress in an occupational hierarchy. 

If you know a high school student or recent graduate who might be thinking of NOT going to college, do them a great favor, make them read and heed this report.  They’ll thank you someday.

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