There are multiple reasons why millions of Americans are struggling to support themselves while earning poverty or near poverty wages. Among these reasons is the disproportionate number of low-wage jobs already in existence, and the fact that most of the new jobs being created (and projected to be created in the near future) are low wage.
But in this environment the question of personal responsibility, particularly when it comes to job training and career planning, also figures in. Except for those born into true privilege, pursuing some type of education or specialized occupational training is the only defense against economic instability.
Education Is the Answer
Educational attainment influences job opportunities and salary level. It also influences likelihood of employment. According to numbers released last week, the overall seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in November was 7.7 percent. Among adults 25 and over without a high school diploma, unemployment was 12.2 percent. For high school graduates in the same age group it was 8.1 percent. For those with some college or an associates degree it was 6.5 percent, and for those with a bachelors degree or higher it was 3.8 percent.
Looking at these numbers, the importance of pursuing some type of education is obvious. The question is not whether to get advanced training. It is what to learn. At first glance, having a bachelors degree seems the safest bet to solid employment. But not everyone wants and is able to pursue a traditional four-year degree. Factors such as academic ability, interest, college preparedness, and the affordability of school all contribute to this.
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Article was originally posted on December 12, 2012 by Jennifer Wheary.