[O]nly three of the 30 occupations with the largest projected number of job openings by 2020 will require a bachelor's degree or higher to fill the position — teachers, college professors and accountants. Most job openings are in professions such as retail sales, fast food and truck driving, jobs which aren't easily replaced by computers…
College graduates who majored in zoology, anthropology, philosophy, art history and humanities were among the least likely to find jobs appropriate to their education level; those with nursing, teaching, accounting or computer science degrees were among the most likely.
Michael Bledsoe, 23, graduated in 2010 with a degree in creative writing and now works as a "barista" or coffee server in a Seattle, Washington, coffeehouse. When he first graduated, he sent out three or four résumés every day, but those who responded said he lacked any real-world experience and some questioned the practical value of his degree. Bledsoe said, “I don’t even know what I’m looking for. There isn’t much out there.”
Cameron Bawden, 22, who expects to graduate from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas in December, has a much more realistic view of the world that awaits: “It’s kind of scary … there are so few jobs.” So he has been busy building his résumé by working on the Las Vegas strip as a food runner as well as doing a marketing internship with a local airline.
But for 24-year-old Kelman Edwards, who just graduated with a degree in biology, the only job he could find was in construction. He said, “I thought my having a biology degree was a gold ticket for me getting into places, but every other job wants you to have previous history. Everyone is telling you, ‘Go to college,’ but when you graduate, it’s kind of an empty cliff.”
Edwards is not alone. A study done by The Chronicle of Higher Education illustrates the world he and his graduate classmates are facing:
- 482,000 customer service representatives hold at least a bachelor’s degree, along with
- 317,000 waiters and waitresses
- 141,000 receptionists
- 107,000 janitors (5,000 hold PhDs or other doctorates)
- 85,000 truck drivers
- 80,000 bartenders
- 63,000 food preparation workers
- 62,000 landscapers
- 59,000 construction workers
- 49,000 postal workers
- 37,000 hotel and motel desk clerks, and
- 18,000 parking lot attendants
The real world that graduates are facing has been predicted for years: more expensive higher-cost education touted as the ticket to high-level work confronted with a shrinking economy where such positions are increasingly hard to find.
Most of them bought into the promise that a higher education was the key to getting a “good job” and a chance to live the “American Dream.” But it hasn’t worked out. Michael, writing at his blog, said:
They have been told not to worry about how much it costs and that there is plenty of financial aid (mostly made up of loans) available. Now our economy is facing the biggest student loan debt bubble in the history of the world, and when our new college graduates enter the “real world” they are finding out that the good jobs they were promised are very few and far between.
For those considering taking on the debt obligations for a college degree, there are numerous options and alternatives, at much lower cost. World Net Daily managing editor David Kupelian explains:
New options abound. The Internet — as revolutionary today as the Gutenberg printing press was five centuries ago — offers endless opportunities for learning, including taking college courses from home. Trade schools, distance learning, community college, going into business, apprenticeships, internship and a hundred other opportunities beckon.
One young man made some good decisions based upon his view of the real world. When he was 18, Will Adelmann (grandson of the writer) signed up at College Plus to get his degree in history. He knew at the time that his career goal was to be a college history professor. He also knew about the excessively high costs of obtaining a degree on a campus, so he is getting his degree online and taking the CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests to prove his competency. He started in May of 2011 and expects to complete his study and receive his degree from Thomas Edison State College in New Jersey by next summer. In two and a half years, at a total cost of less than $20,000, Will, age 20, will have accomplished more than most his age and done it sooner and more cheaply. Along the way he is adding to his bonafides by working a summer job with a local landscaping company where he was just promoted to team leader over men twice his age.
The combination of bad decisions by uninformed (or misinformed) parents about the benefits of a traditional college education, poor timing, easy government money, and poor planning have doomed many of today’s graduates to a much different work and life experience than they expected. Many are burdened with debt they cannot escape through bankruptcy and consequently will have years to regret their attempt to enjoy the American Dream through higher education. The real world is turning out to be far different from the dream.