A recent survey by the Career College Association reported that 9 out of 10 Americans think college is important for career opportunities and 67% believe that education is the key to competitiveness in the global economy. Turns out education can also be the key to keeping your job in an economic downturn.
Recent employment numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that not only do people with more education earn more, but in tough times like these, education provides a buffer against unemployment. The unemployment rate for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher as of October 2009 was 4.6%. However, compare that to the percent of people out of work with less than a high school diploma– 14%. When it comes to unemployment, 10% is a lot. The desire for more employment options is also fueling a spike in enrollment of adults returning to school.
The good news is that technology can help. First, it allows you to build a persuasive argument to inspire your kids. You can find employment and earning potential numbers at the click of a mouse (including charts) at the Bureau of Labor Statistics website so you can show your kids at the dinner table why it’s so important to get an education. (Make sure you translate the numbers into a currency your kids will understand, like clothes or cars.)
More importantly, however, communications technologies make education available to people–both young and old–for whom it was previously out of reach. Traditional higher education programs can be prohibitive for a number of reasons: cost, geography, admission requirements, or home and family demands. Also, according to a report by Howell, Williams, and Lindsay Thirty-two Trends Affecting Distance Education: An Informed Foundation for Strategic Planning , the current higher education infrastructure isn’t equipped to handle the number of college-bound students coming down the pipeline, not to mention the swelling number of nontraditional students looking to further their education and career options. In 2001, 42% of all students were over age 25. Adult learners are the fastest growing segment of the higher education population.
Brick and mortar institutions can’t offer the flexibility to facilitate the needs of many, particularly adult learners, so it’s exciting to see different solutions using distance learning models springing up. For example, the Big Bend Community College has established satellite “Community Knowledge Centers” to provide broadband access to their programs. The military is instituting a virtual school program to help the kids in military families stay on track through frequent relocations. The Conterra Telecom Services is connecting eight high schools in the Navajo Nation to the Northeast Arizona Technological Institute of Vocational Education. Where the average distance between high schools is 101 miles and 78% of student have to travel over unpaved roads to school, providing high speed Internet access can make a huge difference.
With the technology we have today, there is no reason why quality education cannot be available to anyone who wants it. In a perfect world, everyone would have a chance to stroll leisurely past ivy-covered halls carrying a swell book bag on their way to a lecture by a Nobel laureate. But it’s not. Only about 25% of the population is able to attend a four-year college. Distance education is a powerful way to help expand access and options to the rest.
Contrary to widely-held beliefs, distance-learning is not a sorry second best. It is possible to have very meaningful relationships and learning experiences in asynchronous environments. I know. I’ve been on both sides of the equaiton. Just like in face-to-face courses, much of the success of an online course is due to the energy the teacher and students invest. But it is the convenience and flexibility in scheduling of the distance learning format that allows most students to continue their education. While there are potential downsides, of course, the disadvantages are vastly outweighed by the alternative–no education.
The U.S. could learn from places like India’s Indira Ghandhi National Open University. It provides educational opportunities through distance and open education targeting disadvantaged populations. There are kids working as busboys working in Kuwait studying to be engineers, thanks to this system. We should take notice of both the opportunity and the motivation and energy of so many who are working to take advantage of it.
The world is becoming a smaller place, thanks to technology. This means that competition for jobs, not just goods, is in a global market. The disparity in unemployment across education levels is an example of this trend. If you haven’t seen the viral video “Did You Know” on YouTube, watch it to get an idea of the magnitude of this global shift.
Unemployment numbers underscore the importance of an education in slow economic times. But in the global economy, we not only need to get an education, we need to keep learning.
This article was reposted with permission granted from Dr. Pam Rutledge, Ph.D., M.B.A.-Director of the
|< Prev||Next >|
Careers explored at St. Adelaide Academy
During its observance of Catholic Schools Week, St. Adelaide Academy held its annual career day, inviting parents and others in the Highland community into the classrooms to share about their careers and what it took to obtain those careers.
The Father Ray Foundation’s Redemptorist schools do a number of things for the disabled in Pattaya, but Job One is helping students build careers and develop their potential.
Diverse Careers, Inc. Announces San Diego Career Fair to Be Held Thursday, February 12th – 10:00am to 2:00pm
Diverse Careers, Inc. would like to invite job seekers and employers to participate in the San Diego Career Fair on February 12, 2015 from 10am to 2pm at the Doubletree Hotel San D
HKTDC Education & Careers Expo Spotlights Youth and Jobs
New Zones Designed to Unlock Opportunities, New Pathways Hong Kong, Jan 28, 2015 - (ACN Newswire) - New education and career zones will help anchor the upcoming 25th HKTDC Education & Careers Expo, which ...
The Best Careers for Your Personality Type (Infographic)
Calling all introverts, extroverts, and everything in between: here's what your Myers-Briggs type says about what kind of job suits you best.
The 10 Best Freelance Careers
According to professional job service FlexJob's vast database of flexible job listings, the following careers offer the most freelance job openings. They also feature stimulating projects and solid paychecks, according to salary data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics and Glassdoor.com. These freelance careers allow you to work…
In South Korea, childcare burden derails women's careers
Guilt made her stay home and give up a flourishing career as an event supervisor in Seoul. A shortage of dependable childcare is derailing the careers of hundreds of thousands of women in South Korea, where management ranks are dominated by men and a patriarchal society idealizes stay-at-home moms. Government…
NFL players find second careers as entrepreneurs
NFL players find second careers as entrepreneurs from programs that help them navigate business obstacles.
Receptionists 'giving careers advice'
Secondary schools in England are using teaching assistants and receptionists to give pupils careers advice, MPs have warned.
Five Second-Act Careers to Sail Through Retirement
pan A book by Forbes contributor Nancy Collamer, a career coach based in Old Greenwich, CT, offers hope to the burned out and the bored in mid-career. It’s possible to switch gears in midlife and to start a new venture that brings rewards, both financial and emotional, she writes. The…