I know I am biased (being a school teacher) but I feel the most recent unemployment statistics show why having an education is so important – probably more now than ever before.
The most recent data shows that the unemployment rate for July was 9.1%. Analyzing this figure with some detail will show that this is not as high as it seems for those with a college degree. The unemployment rate for those who have less than a high school diploma was at 15%. Those who graduated from high school but have no college have an unemployment rate of 9.3%. The rate for those who have some college or an associate degree stood at 8.3%. Finally, for those that have a bachelor’s degree or higher had an unemployment rate of only 4.3%. I think these numbers show why graduating from college and having an education is so important.
I know that having a college degree does not guarantee success nor is it the end-all-be-all. You still have to work hard and be productive to an employer. However, a degree does open doors that would otherwise remain closed. Even though my daughters are young (4 and 7) I always try to point out why college is so important to set the stage for later in life.
This summer I decided to paint the outside of our house. I got a quote for someone to do this and it was $3,000. I could buy all the materials and do the labor myself (the hard part) and save my family over $2,500. From my previous posts, you know we try to save money as much as possible so I decided to give it a whirl. Now, the middle of June was not very pleasant here in Georgia. We had many 90 plus degree days during my painting time. I would come in after painting for 8 hours and be completely drenched with sweat. I would point this out to my girls and tell them why it is so important to get a college degree since this will give them options they might not otherwise have. If I did not have a degree, my job might have been a painter instead of a teacher. I have to admit it was not as bad as I thought it would be but painting a house is not something I am passionate about. I know some people would love this job and I say more power to them. For me, I am glad I have a degree so I have other opportunities other than painting.
I still remember when I realized how important getting a college degree would be. Growing up in Florida, my family owned an appliance business. I started working for them delivering and setting up appliances when I was 15. I continued to do this most summers and into my early college days. My first year of college was not my best academically speaking. I fooled around too much and did not focus at all on my school. This was reflected in my grades. That summer I went back to work delivering appliances to earn some spending money. My family’s company got a job to install washers and dryers in a retirement community. There was something like 20 buildings in this community and I had to install two sets of washers and dryers in each building – one downstairs and the other upstairs. Let me tell you, summer in Florida is not very pleasant if you are outside doing manual labor. Some mornings it can feel like 100 degrees (with the humidity) by 9 am. One day I started to analyze my situation. I realized that if I kept messing around in college I might not get a degree and would have to deliver appliances the rest of my life. I was okay doing this when I was 19 but knew I did not want to do this the rest of my life. I decided then and there that I was going to do better in school so I could do what I wanted to – become a teacher. That next semester I applied myself in college and actually earned straight A’s and made the President’s List!
I know many successful people did not graduate college and a degree does not automatically guarantee success but the numbers do not lie – a college degree will help keep you employed in difficult economic times.