Our Economy Relies On College Grads
Students in online degree programs know that a college degree is the ticket to admission in today's work force.
Sure, you know a college diploma opens doors and increases your earning potential. That's why you've enrolled in an online degree program.
But you probably haven't considered that in today's postindustrial service economy, a college education is increasingly becoming the admission ticket to the workforce.
A new study sheds light on the growing demand for high-skilled workers. And it puts to rest fears that manufacturing jobs of the past are being replaced with low-paid, dead-end service jobs.
Take a look at the numbers:
So what's behind the shift?
According to the study, "The Economy Goes to College: The Hidden Promise of Higher Education in the Postindustrial Service Economy" produced by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce, it's growing consumer demand for high-quality, highly-customized goods and services.
"Producing today's high-quality goods and services requires employees to have a deeper knowledge of their fields of study and a better understanding of applications on the job," the study says.
Take a basic commodity like food as a case in point.
Once upon a time, food was completely produced, prepared and eaten at home. Today's commercial production and preparation of food requires numerous networks and numerous workers with considerably more education and training.
Farmers today represent only 5 percent of the value added in food production, according to the report, while almost 20 percent of the value added in the food network comes from bankers, insurance firms, advertisers and other business services involved in bringing food to the consumer's table.
"The shift in America's workforce has not been from factories to fast-food outlets. Rather, the key growth in U.S. employment has come in offices and non-office settings like hospitals and schools that provide higher-skill services," according to the study.
"Nearly two-thirds of Americans now work in these higher-skill workplaces."
And they're making good money.
"Demand is high for these elevated levels of skill. Employers are paying substantially more for workers with post-secondary education."
The authors provide even more eye-opening statistics:
"The U.S. economy's largest and fastest-growing sectors – business services, finance, health care and education – have little room for high school educated workers," the study says. And, the economy's growing technological sophistication has only increased the demand for educated workers who can utilize the new technology.
The study identifies 10 trends in the postindustrial economy that have been the driving force behind the creation of more high-skill jobs:
"As consumers have demanded more from companies, those companies have demanded a deeper and broader set of skills from their workers: not just cognitive skills, but interpersonal skills and other non-cognitive competencies," the report finds. "Employers have raised entry-level education requirements for their workers and expect them to engage in lifelong learning on the job."
Bottom line, education has never been more important in the U.S. workforce.
Where will you add value?
Image Credit: Boris-B/Shutterstock.com
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