Let's start telling young people the truth about college and jobs
A year ago, I came across Aaron Clarey's "Worthless", a book that brings you down to earth about the value of a college degree in today's marketplace. I'd definitely recommend Aaron's book to parents & high school students. It will make you think about the huge investment that you are about to make by starting college.
Young people today are finding a tough marketplace, i.e. the GDP is still weak.
We can blame the slow economy for the tough jobs outlook. However, the changes are more profound and will continue until we finally can enjoy a recovery.
As Thomas Friedman pointed out, getting a job is about bringing value not a degree to a future employer:
"Underneath the huge drop in demand that drove unemployment up to 9 percent during the recession, there's been an important shift in the education-to-work model in America. Anyone who's been looking for a job knows what I mean. It is best summed up by the mantra from the Harvard education expert Tony Wagner that the world doesn't care anymore what you know; all it cares "is what you can do with what you know." And since jobs are evolving so quickly, with so many new tools, a bachelor's degree is no longer considered an adequate proxy by employers for your ability to do a particular job -- and, therefore, be hired. So, more employers are designing their own tests to measure applicants' skills. And they increasingly don't care how those skills were acquired: home schooling, an online university, a massive open online course, or Yale. They just want to know one thing: Can you add value?""
Translation: What can you do for me, young person? Or, what can you do to make my bottom line come alive?
The other reality of today's marketplace is that you are more likely to get hired by a very lean medium size company competing in a brutal international marketplace.
This is not the time when Americans made and consumed everything. We are now operating in a world where there are smart engineers in India, very good aircraft manufactures in Brazil and a China determined to get ahead no matter what it takes to do it.
Therefore, let's explain to young people that their future employer wants you to bring some value to his business because that's what will keep the doors open another week, i.e. your next paycheck!
It's a very different marketplace than the one that welcomed me many years ago. I just hope that we are telling young people what is going on outside the school walls.
Last, but not least, I hope that high school counselors are advising students that there is a big future in plumbing, chimney cleaning, and other similar vocations.
Don't get me wrong. A college degree is a noble objective as long as you know that it's not a ticket to anything or a guarantee to a job!
P.S. We discussed today's jobs market in Thursday's show!