Niagara Gazette

Columns

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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