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Monday, May 02, 2011

College degree no longer easy ticket to job

I recently read an interesting column by Kim Palmer of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune regarding the difficulty new college grads have finding jobs.

As an example, one male student with an engineering degree was profiled. He graduated from Colorado State University a year ago and has yet to find a job even after 200 interviews. He says the problem isn’t necessarily a lack of jobs so much as the number of people applying for them. In his case he is a rookie having to interview against experienced engineers who are out of work and desperate enough to take entry level positions. As a result, the kid has to live in the basement of his parent’s home hoping that something comes along so he can get some income and his own place.

Young student studying for her college degree. Will she be able to get a job? (Boston College)

He is not alone with his situation. Incomes have fallen, jobs are scarce, and many recent grads are buried in debt from their college expenses. I did a couple blogs over the last few years about college expenses and it surprised me what it costs to go to a school like Arizona State University. Credit hour costs are in the $400-$500 range and keep increasing. When I was in college in the 1960’s, that kind of money would cover my tuition for a full load of courses for the entire semester and leave enough for some beers.

As far as job availability, I took my Bachelor of Arts degree to several interviews after graduation and within five or six weeks had a sales job with a national company with good pay for the time and the free use of a company car. I’m not boasting since almost everyone who had a degree in those days had a ticket to the front of the job line. I was no exception and I took advantage of the situation. I shutter when I think of the poor grads today not being able to find jobs plus being buried in debt.

Palmer reports that the Economic Policy Institute says that “as of 2009, 37% of 18 to 29 year olds were unemployed, the highest share in four decades.” This has caused a migration of kids back to their parent’s homes but unlike the baby boomers of past generations where kids couldn’t get away from their parents soon enough, many kids returning home today enjoy having the amenities their parents can provide. Plus, some parents are glad to take them back in but many shake their heads in wonderment over whether their kids will ever hit the highway on their own.

I’ve never had children so I can’t comment much on the legitimacy of kids wanting to return to the nest but I never was in a situation where I had the problems of the kids today with finding employment. It’s obviously a difficult situation.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well the Repubs promise us Mitt in 2013 will create 250,000 jobs/mo. They dont say how or even why it will work but the most important thing is the rich get a fat tax cut! Ya that will fix all our probs!