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June 11, 2014


Bill Tetzlaff

The increase in men going to college, in the 1960s, because of the vietnam war and draft, provided microeconomists an opportunity to do some coontrolled studies, looking at how well the men who would otherwise have not been expected to go to college fared. They found that these men had similar outcomes in terms of graduation, and in financial success in life. These studies confirmed some of WW II GI Bill students. Those sttudies were more confunded by the circumstances of returing from the war, and control was harder. Part of the decline in the absolute number of men going to college, was the baby bust, but in recent years, there is a real shift with women making much more access to education. The the studies certainly sugggest that a large part of the current male cohort is missing a big opportunity. Some have argued that college graduation simply represents the smart people, who were going to be a success either way. The studies put that to bed, and show positive value tto everyone.

Bud Byrd

As is the case for the articles that you have written in the past, I find this article to be spot-on. I know mind-space of the reader must be considered, time is short in planning, preparing and publishing your weekly blogs. I appreciate your ability in writing concise, tight and informative articles.

With the above said, I think whether or not a person goes to college or not is broader in context than the amount of money an individual may or may not earn depending on the level of his or her education. The major problem that I fear coming is the lack of sufficient jobs of quality in many areas of our country. A college degree may be the ticket to success if you live in Silicon Valley or down on Wall Street, but will it make a difference if you live in the mountains of West Virginia, the plains of the upper Western Mid-West or the inner-cities? Maybe college versus high school will help some in downtrodden or lower density areas of America, but only for a few. The many will continue to fall through the cracks.

In times gone by, our jobs market could be demonstrated as a kind of pyramid with a few high level, high paying executive and professional positions, sports and movie star-types at the peak. In the middle was an order of magnitude of more well paying jobs, with another ten-fold or larger group at the bottom of the pyramid doing the low paying manual labor, personal service and healthcare types of jobs. Today, our pyramid symbol of job types and pay has distorted into more of an hour-glass, an hour-glass with a much broadened and flattened base of semi-skilled, low paying jobs and a top of the glass that is somewhat enlarged but not sufficient to soak up all those better educated, mid-level job seekers.

Technology caused much of the middle to fall away conforming to this generally accepted perception. However, the movement of manufacturing and middle skills work “offshore” is more the culprit, I would argue. The notion that we can educate our way to a better job is valid for the individual, unfortunately the space at the top is limited in this country, certainly at many locations within the country. Under current policies and practices, many of the high paying, intellect based jobs will go offshore as well. India, London Financial, Singapore and others demonstrate that phenomenon today.

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