The Obama administration and the two-track system
Since the early days of the Obama regime, the importance of a college education has been incessantly emphasized to American high school students. The message has been made clear- in order to succeed in today’s economy, one must obtain a college degree. However, is this really the case? Does everyone need a college degree to find success? This paper sets out to argue that while the benefits of a college education are monumental to the society, a college degree is not necessary for all students.
2. The Obama administration and the two-track system
During his time in office, Obama has made it a point to increase funding for education at all levels, with a particular focus on higher education. In his 2013 State of the Union Address, he stated that “In today’s global economy, first-class jobs go to first-class workers. We need to do everything we can to make sure our young people have the skills they need to succeed.” This focus on building a well-educated workforce is understandable, as numerous studies have shown that there is a direct correlation between level of education and income. However, this push for more and more Americans to attend and graduate from college may be misguided.
A study by Anthony P. Carnevale, Ban Cheah, and Andrew Rotherham shows that there are actually two different types of job markets in the United States- one for college educated workers, and one for everyone else. They label this the “two-track” system, and it has serious implications for those who do not have a college degree. In short, the authors found that while there are still many good jobs available for non-college educated workers, these jobs tend to be much less stable than those held by college graduates. They also found that these jobs often do not provide adequate benefits, and are generally not as well paying as positions held by those with a college degree.
3. The skilled blue-collar workers of America
One group of workers who have been particularly hard hit by this two-track system are skilled blue-collar workers. These are individuals who have traditionally held jobs in manufacturing or other manual labor type positions. In recent years, however, many of these jobs have gone overseas, leaving skilled blue-collar workers without employment.
While some of these workers have been able to find new jobs, many have not been so lucky. A study by David Autor shows that between 2000 and 2007, there was a net loss of approximately 1 million jobs in the United States for workers without a college degree. This trend has continued in recent years, as manufacturing jobs continue to disappear. As a result, many skilled blue-collar workers are now unemployed or underemployed.
4. The United States and economic development
The loss of manufacturing jobs is not only bad news for skilled blue-collar workers; it also has implications for the United States economy as a whole. A study by Robert Dyson shows that between 2000 and 2010, approximately 2 million manufacturing jobs were lost in the United States. This is significant because manufacturing jobs tend to be relatively high paying and offer good benefits. As a result, the loss of these jobs has had a negative impact on economic development in the United States.
In conclusion, while the benefits of a college education are