Want a job? Better have a degree.

So we’re losing jobs, mostly in the manufacturing sector, which should come as no surprise. I attend the Economic Outlook Luncheon where, every year, the University of Michigan study concludes that it’s really not so bad. Things will get better! Promise.

I know the manufacturing jobs will go; it’s not economically viable to produce hardly anything around here anymore. We’re supposed to find solace in the fact that high-tech jobs are coming — the losses are reversing. Professional and scientific and technical jobs aplenty. But note that the Oakland Press article saves one key factor for the end: the growth is in the jobs that require higher education.

What about everyone else?

I’ll speak from experience. My father works at an assembly plant at GM. He did not attend college because, you know, college isn’t for everybody. While I wholeheartedly agree that college is important, I temper that with the facts — for some, it’s just too expensive. For others, it’s just not the right fit — they have family issues or time constraints or would prefer vocational training.

So what do we do? Hand them a McDonald’s application and wish them luck?

One of the biggest problems in this area is a lack of, or failure to promote, educational resources for non-traditional students and adult learners. We must strive to foster a learning community from cradle to grave, regardless of educational background or socioeconomic status. Way too many people resign themselves to minimum wage jobs because they do not see how continuing education can fit into their lives.

Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth has adult education information. There are several other organizations, such as the Michigan Association of Community and Adult Education (MACAE), Michigan Works! and the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA). I know of these groups because it’s part of my job. Would the high school dropout or young single mother?

Luckily, my father will retire soon. He won’t be forced to work at Walmart since, without a degree, he doesn’t fit into the future job market. What about everyone else?

Comments are closed.

Terms of use | Privacy Policy | Content: Creative Commons | Site and Design © 2009 | Metroblogging ® and Metblogs ® are registered trademarks of Bode Media, Inc.