Sunday, July 20, 2008

College degrees no longer guarantee rising paychecks

In Maine, there has been an increasing push towards ensuring that every high school graduate go on to a four-year college. While there was a time when data fully supported that premise, no longer is that the case.

The Wall Street Journal's Greg Ip wrote about this on Thursday. He cites government statistical snapshots, showing the typical worker with a bachelor's degree saw his wages decline 1.7 percent in 2006, compared 2001 levels, when adjusted for inflation.

Ip's article contends that college graduates no longer are seeing automatic bumps in income, based upon attaining their college degrees.

Rather, as I've written about in this space, it's more important to target post-secondary training to jobs and occupations where growth is expected. Additionally, it's important for career professionals to steer students towards occupations and careers that capture their skill orientations.

Still, a great deal of effort, as well as funding continues to be targeted in the direction of pushing most students into the four-year option. Sadly, many will graduate, and be ill-prepared for the workforce that awaits them. Worse, their wages won't warrant the time, nor student debt they assumed acquiring a degree that continues to shrink in value.

Here is a link to the online Journal and statistics supporting Ip's claims.

Additionally, Harvard professors Claudia Goldin and Lawrence F. Katz have a book out delving into the historical analysis of educational attainment and the wage structure in the United States through the twentieth century.

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