Are Job Opportunities guaranteed with Education?

As we move further into 2010 we are hearing many perspectives about the United States Presidential Workforce Initiative monies. Is all the money going to where it will generate job opportunities? For many years education was presented as the answer to a slow economy and lack of employment. During these times educational institutions on average saw an increase in enrollment by 20-40%. With job opportunities less plentiful what are the best ways to present your skills, accomplishments and background for the best job openings? Are people looking at advanced education as a necessary and complementary action to supplement their already existing skills?

Or are people being taken for a ride, spending hours and years preparing for a career that won’t contribute to them or support them in their goals? The career market requiring both experience and education. How can you prepare yourself for a market that requires much more than what you have known?

As mentioned on a recent KPFA radio broadcast college education does not guaranteed a high paying job. But some people are hearing just the opposite from guidance counselors and recruiters. How would you know if it’s a good decision for you? I suggest you do your homework by organizing and carrying out informational interviews and on the job externships or internships. It’s important that you engage with and talk with people in your future field.

Many people take on higher education and additional training and see it as an investment that will pay off. Just taking courses and receiving a certificate or degree won’t in itself guarantee higher paying income or more doors opening. It is up to the graduate to leverage their education, their network, and who they have met, to provide job opportunities. While in school make time to receive career guidance and ask the important questions to position yourself towards your greater career path.

As quoted by Boyd Watkins of Syracuse University forty-five percent of people who go to college, four year colleges, don't get a bachelors degree within six years. Those people often have met with disappointment and their investment isn't particularly good. By relying on education alone to provide the ease in gaining a new career and moving their economic life forward is a mistake. The point of education is to move you into action and greater contribution. Another group of people graduate from college and then have trouble getting jobs and end up taking jobs for which a college education is not really a prerequisite. Twelve percent of the male carriers in the United States today have college degrees. I have nothing against male carriers with college degrees, but I don't think it's an absolute necessity to have a college degree to deliver the mail. This is a situation of not aligning education with your goals before you begin. Not only do you need to choose a good educational institution to fit you also need to research and explore the trends and industries you plan to impact and work within before you begin the journey of education.

I think some students who are going to college probably shouldn't go to college. While I applaud the principle behind President Obama's objective of getting everyone some post-secondary education, in reality there are a lot of jobs out there that are being created or that exist that are not jobs that require college education. The mix between the supply of college graduates and the jobs available is moving increasingly in the direction of having fewer and fewer jobs available that require a college education.

We are starting to graduate an abundance of students who are becoming more and more difficult to get jobs, independent of the recession. There needs to be considerable research done for your career by being present now with what the world needs; skill wise, and accomplishment driven verses college driven. We may be allowing our 1980’s thinking and training to dedicate and impact 2010 job preparation and job openings.

The importance of research, leveraging your skills and accomplishments and choosing specific on the job training and vocational education to meet market demand is recommended. Spending $50,000 to go into debt with a degree in a field that is disappearing isn’t a good idea and won’t support you in increasing your job opportunities.

If I were to do it again I would start at the Community college level identify specific trends and direction and then move on to vocational training, on the job training, or a certificate or 4 year degree. Working with the end in mind verses following a predetermined expected path is more prudent and productive in securing and thriving in your job search.