MARY REICHARD, HOST: Today is Thursday, May 23rd. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Mary Reichard.
NICK EICHER, HOST: And I’m Nick Eicher. Well, it’s graduation season again. That means graduating seniors are making plans for their future.
Commentator Cal Thomas is here now with some career advice.
CAL THOMAS, COMMENTATOR: Congress created the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program in 2007. It was an attempt to attract people into professions like teaching, nursing, and public-interest law. College graduates would be forgiven their student loans if they pursued a career in those professions.
But now 12 years later, The Wall Street Journal reports the program is in “disarray.” Department of Education figures show more than 70,000 people have applied for debt forgiveness—but less than a thousand have successfully erased their loans.
Business models are constantly changing all over the economy—from cars, to clothes. But outside of rising costs, the education model remains the same. That model says a college education is mandatory in order to obtain a good job and become self-sufficient.
That cost-benefit analysis may be changing. A new Georgetown University study says by next year, “65 percent of all jobs in the economy will require postsecondary education and training beyond high school.”
That means 35 percent of available jobs will not require a college degree.
The findings are significant. They offer a guide into the type of specialized education and acquired skills students will need to qualify for these jobs.
In the past, a general liberal arts education was enough to find employment in many fields. Now, many jobs require education and training to fit specific employer requirements. That can often take place outside of the traditional college path—and the crushing debt that typically comes with it.
Georgetown’s research produced other interesting findings. Quoting now: “Job openings in health care, community services and… science, technology, engineering, [and] mathematics will grow the fastest among occupational clusters. Judgment/decision-making, communications, analysis, and administration will be the four most in-demand competencies in the labor market.” End quote.
The study goes on to say 96 percent of these jobs will require critical thinking and active listening skills.
The need for more labor will span positions with and without college requirements. The Georgetown study said at the current rate of college graduates, the U.S. will lack 5 million workers with post-secondary education by next year.
And a combination of baby boomer retirements and the creation of new positions will create—get this—a total of 55 million job openings by next year. Next year!
This is nothing short of phenomenal and is a contributing factor to the influx of immigration, both legal and otherwise. It also helps explain why the Trump administration’s recently announced support for keeping immigration levels at about 1 million per year. As the U.S. birthrate continues to decline, we’ll need immigrants to help meet labor demands.
Parents and students should keep these Georgetown findings in mind as they make career decisions. The research could help you secure a meaningful and well-paying job in the ever-expanding economy—and in the process spare you frustration, debt, and an unnecessary return to mom’s basement.
For WORLD Radio, I’m Cal Thomas.