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Saturday, October 23, 2010

There are 18,000 parking lot attendants in the U.S. with college degrees.

“There are 18,000 parking lot attendants in the U.S. with college degrees. There are 5,000 janitors in the U.S. with PhDs. In all, some 17 million college-educated Americans have jobs that don't require their level of education.”

I don’t want to demean folks getting jobs. I think it is an even bigger problem when folks remain unemployed because they refuse to take a job because it “is below them”. From my angle, if you need a job then any honest work is a blessing.

But this article points to the generalization about college that is the weakness in the discussion. Not all college education is created equally. A degree in Art History or Recreation Management today rarely generates a related job for the college graduate after graduation. But high school kids head off to college, financed by debt and think: “They wouldn’t be offering this degree if graduates weren’t getting jobs.” Colleges are not financing many of these college educations (the taxpayer is) and so they never face the pain of their graduates not being able to pay back the loans, when their grads have received an interesting but not-in-demand skill set.

We need more Science and Engineering graduates to gain a competitive advantage in the world economy. But today only 5% of US college graduates major in engineering and of those half are from outside the US. We need folks that are trained in a number of technical subjects from science to electronic microscope repair. We don’t need more Celtic History majors to reclaim our manufacturing advantage.


TahoeJohn said...

Here is another comment on the same subject from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Why Did 17 Million Students Go to College?
October 20, 2010, 9:53 am

By Richard Vedder

Two sets of information were presented to me in the last 24 hours that have dramatically reinforced my feeling that diminishing returns have set in to investments in higher education, with increasing evidence suggesting that we are in one respect “overinvesting” in the field. First, following up on information provided by former student Douglas Himes at the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), my sidekick Chris Matgouranis showed me the table reproduced below (And for more see this).

see the rest at the above web site.

TahoeJohn said...

Richard - I finally saw your comment and read your article in The Chronicle of Higher Education. You make the case extremely well. Thanks for expressing contrary views to the establishment.

TahoeJohn said...

Richard I just posted a more detailed post about your excellent article. Thanks for your clear thinking on the subject.

Here is the blog.