Skill shortage rather than degree shortage

The Center for Education and the Workplace at Georgetown University provides a much needed reality check about today’s obsession with a bachelor’s degree (“ ‘Some College. No Degree’ Jobs and the Trouble with the Credential Treadmill,” The James G. Martin Center for Academic Renewal, Apr. 3).  Its latest report  once again emphasized that a four-year degree is not needed for many good careers.

I’ve been arguing for years that we’ve been wildly oversold on the necessity of a bachelor’s degree for a rewarding career.  The wage premium attached to such a degree fades out when the cost of acquiring the degree is factored in.  I’ve also been stressing that what students major in is more important than mere possession of the degree itself.

The CEW report confirms my views.  In fact, it goes so far as to say that college degrees alone are not conferring any wage advantage over high school diplomas.  Nevertheless, we persist in the fiction that young people without a bachelor’s degree face a bleak future.

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