A 21st Century Journalism Project

Education is Key

In Defining The Problem on March 1, 2012 at 1:55 pm

By: Tim Reeder

Everyone has had that person or persons in their life who preaches the importance of school. For most, these individuals are family members, often a parent or grandparents, who tell you to do well in school and to go to college so that you can get a good job. Oftentimes education is the key. Being hard working and educated can open up the doors to better jobs, financial stability and hopefully even success.

In the United States, individuals with college or some other post secondary education, including trade school, are more likely to be employed and less likely to have trouble providing for their family and saving for the future.  The Bureau of Labor Statistics defines the working poor as those who live below the poverty line, but who work at least 27 weeks a year. Those people who receive additional education typically are able to apply their learned skills or knowledge in higher paying jobs.  Also, individuals with more training or schooling usually seek full time employment that often comes with added benefits such as health insurance and retirement plans.  These jobs provide more money for other living expenses, such as food, rent, and clothing.

A cap and diploma for higher degree. Photo Credit- Google Images

Gender plays an important role in employment. Males were 7 percent more likely to be employed then females in 2010, even though females had a higher rate of post secondary education than males. Women were more likely than men to have completed some college or an associate’s degree.  Despite their education, women’s earnings were less than that of men with similar educational backgrounds. However, of people 25-years-old and over males have a greater completion of graduate and professional degrees.

Groups other than White and Asian are almost twice as likely to be classified as working poor.  There are lower percentages of minorities completing post secondary education.  Statistics clearly state that people obtaining degrees in higher education are significantly less likely to be classified as working poor.

The highest education category for people 18 to 24-years-old is a bachelor’s degree or higher. In this age group, 11.0 percent of females have completed at least a bachelor’s degree versus only 7.4 percent of men.  A portion of the difference between these two statistics can be accounted for with a higher number of young males entering the military than that of women in the same age group.  Also many of the various trade fields such as plumbing, auto mechanics and construction are male dominated.

Unemployment rates have increased over time.  In 2006 unemployment hit 6.4 percent and then rose to 10.8 percent by 2010. Unemployed persons are defined as people who have had a job in the past and are actively looking for a new job. The growth in unemployment is caused by a number of factors, including the number of jobs that have been sent overseas. Companies were able to use less expensive foreign labor. Many of the jobs that went overseas were non-career jobs, like telemarketing and non-union factory jobs.

A graph showing that people with higher degrees earn more. Photo Credit- Google Images

In most cases, the amount of money an employee earns depends on his or her education. Someone with just a high school diploma makes roughly $31,000.   Someone with a bachelor’s degree increases their earnings to about $58,000.  Under normal circumstances the person with more education typically will make more money.  If an employee furthers his or her education to a graduate degree or higher then they could earn even more money.   Statistically managers and other supervisors make the most money and to qualify for these positions an employee would need some form of higher education.

Education is an important tool for economic success. It opens doors for many people in ways they never considered.  Employment opportunities should get better with higher post-secondary education even though the workforce is still unfair to some groups.  This information is important because it shows that post-secondary education is a key to opportunity and elevation from the working poor.


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