While models are constantly changing -- from cars, to clothes -- only the education model remains the same, except for rising costs. That model says a college education is mandatory in order to obtain a good job and become self-sufficient. What if it isn't? What if massive college debt might be unnecessary?
A new study by
The findings are significant because they offer a guide into the type of specialized education and acquired skills students will need to qualify for these jobs. In the past, a general liberal arts education was enough to find employment in many fields. As new industries emerge and existing ones expand, the jobs of the near future will require an education and training to fit employer requirements.
The implications are obvious. For many jobs and careers it will no longer be necessary to attend a four-year college, pay high tuition, along with room and board, and graduate with crushing debt that will take years, perhaps decades, to pay off.
Some other findings from Georgetown's research that will be helpful as young people seek an education tailored to job requirements include: "Job openings in health care, community services and STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) will grow the fastest among occupational clusters. Judgment/decision-making, communications, analysis and administration will be the four most in-demand competencies in the labor market.
The demand for physical skills has continued to decline over time, "except for 'near vision,' which is necessary to read computer screens and other types of documentation."
Even those who choose to pursue college degrees will benefit from knowing the types of jobs they can expect to get and design their education to fit those necessities.
The flip side, says the study, is that at the current rate of college graduates, the
Skills that are most valued, says the study, include "leadership, communications and analysis." Taking into consideration all occupations, "96 percent require critical thinking and active listening to be either very important or extremely important to success."
Parents and students should keep these findings in mind to spare themselves frustration and debt when deciding the right path to a meaningful and well-paying job in the new and ever-expanding economy. Otherwise, the jobs one is hoping to get after graduation may not be there and the parental basement could be the only alternative.
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