By Nathan Taylor in News
It’s commonly assumed that one needs four years of higher education to secure a solid career and support a family. However, students in Clark’s technical programs are doing their best to refute that claim.
According to the Office of Planning and Effectiveness, 73 percent of students who were in technical programs at Clark last year were employed within nine months of graduation. This is up from 71 percent three years ago. Additionally, 91 percent of students felt like they accomplished their goal at Clark and 76 percent of graduates were employed in their field of study.
This boost in employment can partially be credited to the improving economy, according to Regional Economist Scott Bailey. “There has been a lot of good job growth and there are better prospects than two years ago,” Bailey said. While he reported strong job growth across all fields, the fastest growing are healthcare, manufacturing and information technology.
Bailey suggested potential job seekers practice their soft skills, such as teamwork, promptness, and being people oriented.
Students practiced their skills on Clark’s “Career Days” April 27-29, where students met employers and distributed their resumes in hopes of landing a future career.
While job growth has gotten more people hired, problematic low wages could hinder people in supporting a family, said Bailey. He forecasted that wages could increase when unemployment drops to four percent. Unemployment currently sits just above five percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When students graduate, they often have to deal with student loan debt. The average college graduate had $29,000 in debt in 2012, according to Bailey. He encourages students not to use student loans, saying, “student loans are bad for the economy.”
Bailey would like to see the college system restructured, calling for less education in areas that are not useful job wise.
While the economy has improved, Bailey believes many problems that led to the recession have not been fixed, such as banks allowing clients to take part in risky investments. “The financial system is unstable,” Bailey said. He called for a system that would build new sewers and roads, while specifically hiring young people.