How Prospective College Students Can Gain A Competitive Edge

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unemployedMany college graduates are having a difficult time finding jobs commensurate with their degrees…

  • A degree may not be relevant to a profession…
  • Many accept entry-level positions for which they are technically overqualified…
  • Employers cannot find appropriately skilled job candidates

Bringing Light to the Paradigm that College Degrees = Job Skills

Many college graduates are having a difficult time finding jobs that reflect the degrees they have obtained. This overqualified/underemployed workforce is referred to as gray-collar jobs – meaning graduates are forced to accept entry-level positions for which they are overqualified or not in their chosen career path. The notion that degrees lead to job skills lead to jobs, or those university degrees guarantee a higher salary and more career opportunities is an incomplete and unfair picture of our economy and the jobs in-demand. Ironically, employers repeatedly tell educators, legislators, and politicians they cannot find appropriately skilled job candidates.

The “College for All” mentality should be reconsidered for “Post High School Credential for All” based on jobs in-demand. Too often many Americans hear the word “college” and automatically think a 4-year degree. According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center of the roughly 70% of high school graduates who go on to college in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree, only 3 in 10 actually graduate and as a result, many are left without finding a job in their chosen career field.

This Brings Us To The Sevens

Locally and nationally employers are struggling to fill in-demand jobs. To understand the jobs in demand, we must understand the Nation’s 1:2:7 problem – this means the ratio of skills and education in our workplaces. In other words, the make-up of skills needed to effectively run businesses. Think of examples in our local economy, such as any local hospital system. For every single doctor (the ones) and 2 BSNs (the twos), how many indirect care staff does it take to keep the hospital running in this ratio? The ones and twos – we have them but the sevens – we can’t find them.

What’s the key item the “Sevens” have?

The “Sevens” have an advanced skill set – a credential that demonstrates their skills and qualifications to an employer. Watch “Success in the New Economy” by Kevin Fleming to understand why the sevens and credentials have become so important to our economy and the “College for All’ mentality should be reconsidered.

There are roughly 29 million of the “Sevens” in demand today across the U.S., with the average salary starting at over $50,000. The demand for these positions over the next decade is forecasted to grow in double digits across most states, including Virginia.
Learn more about the findings of the Success in the New Economy here.

Paradigm Shift

college comic

Just like the “Success in the New Economy” video shared we need to change our thinking. They claim that you can make more earnings with higher education is an incomplete and inaccurate message. From an economic perspective, parents and students and those seeking a new career are now realizing it is an inefficient investment of time and money in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree. Many have come to find out that the degree they pursued was not necessary to acquire the job they need. In addition, there are too many going to college and getting a bachelor’s degree. We’ve become an imbalanced labor force.

High-Demand Occupations In Our Area

The key to student success is aligning your interests and goals to the in-demand jobs and careers in the local economy.  WHSV TV3 has launched an InDemand Local Career Opportunities Campaign that demonstrates the high-demand jobs and aligning the training needed to be successful. Here is an example of just a few high-demand professions and Fast-Track Career Training Programs available:

  • Truck Drivers
  • Heavy Equipment Operators
  • HVAC Technicians
  • Welders
  • Plumbers
  • Electricians
  • Industrial Technicians
  • Manufacturing Technicians
  • Pharmacy Technicians
  • Medical Assistants
  • Phlebotomy Technician
  • Nursing Assistants

Learn more about Fast-Track Career Training Programs available at LFCC Workforce Solutions.