Niagara Gazette

Bob Confer

April 23, 2013

CONFER: Choosing a trade over a degree

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Not a day goes by that this isn’t proven across America.

Newspapers have been chock full of reports of college graduates having to accept what they perceive to be menial jobs since businesses in their career field aren’t hiring while many more have had to move back into their family’s homes to make ends meet, inspiring the title of the “Boomerang Generation”.

There is truth to be had in those anecdotal reports. The Center for College Affordability and Productivity says that roughly half of college graduates are working jobs that don’t require a degree. The Census Bureau’s American Community Survey shows that 21 percent of college graduates up to the age of 34 live with their parents, an increase of 62 percent versus the findings of 2001’s survey.

To think, all of this misery for degrees that parents, teachers, guidance counselors and popular culture have painted as “must-haves”, which end up leaving the average college graduate with $27,000 in debt. Without the job opportunities to make good on the potential they have – or they alleged potential that they bought – they are saddled with the burdensome debt for the long haul, which is why total college debt in America exceeds $1 trillion. In comparison, total credit card debt in the US is “only” at $800 billion.

While the reality of the economy paints such a grim picture for young college-educated Americans, that same economy paints a rosy picture for their peers who instead opted for taxpayer funded training as machinists or paid a nominal fee to develop their skills as truck drivers.

More on this next week.

Bob Confer is a Gasport resident and vice president of Confer Plastics Inc. in North Tonawanda. He also writes for the New American at TheNewAmerican.com. Follow him on Twitter @bobconfer and e-mail him at bobconfer@juno.com.

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Bob Confer
  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: A constitutional convention is not the answer For the past few years it has been popular for folks of the right persuasion (Republicans and neoconservatives) to call for a constitutional convention ("Con-Con") in hopes of passing a balanced budget amendment (BBA.) A lot of people have jumped on that bandwagon; no doubt your email inbox or Facebook news feeds have shown that.

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  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: Health care vouchers would really help our veterans When sending off our men and women to fight for our defense or interests abroad where they face the barrel of a gun or travel along bomb-strewn roads as a course of their daily duties, it only makes sense that upon their return we give our warriors some sort of reward, since most of them are paid peanuts for the risks they take.

    July 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: Looking north to those living the Canadian dream Wikipedia defines the American Dream as "a national ethos of the United States, a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility achieved through hard work."

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: America has a trucking crisis Because a Hollywood star was critically injured in an accident caused by a tractor trailer, the public conversation has turned to road safety and how big trucks fit into that equation. Never mind that beyond Tracy Morgan's high-profile crash there are 500,000 accidents with tractor trailers every year in which an average of 11 people die each day.

    June 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug CONFER: Don't expand bear hunting in New York A couple of weeks ago some folks were lucky enough to see a black bear in the town of Pendleton. The news and social media were all abuzz over the sighting, just as they were in the summer of 2009 when a lone black bear stayed in the county for quite some time. Niagara County residents were then, as they are now, hoping to catch a glimpse of an awesome beast that is an infrequent visitor to our region.

    June 12, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: Suffering from constitutional selectivity It's a real treat when our citizens come out in numbers and with passion in the defense of one of our rights, just as they did - and still do - with the NY-SAFE Act.

    May 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob mug new CONFER: Economic cannibalism: developers eat their own It's not often that you'll find me celebrating the loss of an economic development project that would have created 200 jobs in Western New York. But, I did just that a few weeks ago when a deal to bring a Toronto-based plastics manufacturer to the Buffalo waterfront fell through at the eleventh hour.

    May 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer mug 051214 CONFER: All of Niagara County should say 'no' to CWM expansion CWM Chemical Services maintains a 710-acre facility in the towns of Lewiston and Porter for the treatment, storage and disposal of hazardous and industrial non-hazardous wastes. Wastes accepted at this facility are disposed of in an on-site landfill (known as RMU-1) or shipped to another facility for further processing and disposal.

    May 13, 2014 2 Photos

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug 050714 CONFER: Microbeads: An invisible danger to the environment Most people would think that because my livelihood is based in plastics I'd toe the industry line and wax poetic on the economic and social virtues of plastics of all sorts. This is not always the case.

    May 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • NIA Confer, Bob Mug CONFER: Where are the volunteers? Have you ever wondered why it seems like you see the same people engaged in the efforts of numerous non-profits, churches, fire companies and youth organizations within your community? It's not an illusion. Those tireless souls really are involved in everything. They not only want to be, they have to be -- because no almost one else is giving up their time.

    April 29, 2014 1 Photo

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