Thursday, December 13, 2012

An Education Solution to Low Wage Jobs

Low-Wage Jobs Cause More Problems Than They Solve reports that low wage jobs that are long term jobs keep workers from getting head due to the limiting the opportunities to get higher education or build skills to advance to higher paying jobs.  The article offers the typical solution of raising wages, which I believe is the addressing a symptom and not the cause of the issue.

To me, the issue isn't low paying jobs.  These are great entry level jobs for people to get work experience, e.g. teenagers or college students.   The issue is that low paying jobs become permanent jobs for some people.

The solution is better education, not getting a college degree, but having higher skills when graduating from high school.   My reasoning is that when I graduated for high school in the seventies, high school graduates had the skills need to advance from entry level jobs to higher paying jobs.

For example, I was able to get a summer job as an engineering assistant right after graduating from high school.  I had sufficient skills to effectively work the job in the seventies since some colleagues thought I was a permanent employee.  Of course, the job requirements have increased significantly in the past 40 years, and my high school education from the seventies would not be sufficient anymore.  Neither is the high school education of 2012.

Based on my experience tutoring high school students, I estimate that many, if not most, high school students need to graduate with a much higher lever of skills to be able to advance to higher paying jobs without a college education.  This would be a great opportunity to improve both our education and worker competitiveness.

For more on Crossing Generations, check back every Thursday  for a new segment.
This is not financial advice. Please consult a professional advisor.

Copyright © 2012 Achievement Catalyst, LLC

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