Is The Bachelor’s Degree The New High School Diploma?
The time may have finally come. According to a 2018 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, 90% of Americans now have high school diplomas. Specifically in relation to the manufacturing industry, the amount of individuals with a college degree or more is almost equal with those who have no diploma or only a high school diploma.
“Within three years, U.S. manufacturing workers with college degrees will outnumber those without.” – The WSJ
Many suggest that automation is to blame. Because we used to have to do things with our hands and now machines do most of it, the manufacturing industry needs people who can operate machinery.
According to the Wall Street Journal,
“Employment in manufacturing jobs that require the most complex problem-solving skills, such as industrial engineers, grew 10% between 2012 and 2018; jobs requiring the least declined 3%,” – The WSJ
As we have already taken several steps into the dawn of a new age, it may be more important than ever to send our kids and grandkids into higher education – simply so that they can feed their families, if they’re not one of those tech-savvy entrepreneur types, that is!
The jobs required to man the manufacturing industry have decreased by 30% since 1979, as the higher skills required for ever-innovating technology has solved simple problems and replaced non-educated workers.
Some companies are also now requiring at least an associate’s degree, and many have found relief in programs like welding, where many can start off at $20 per hour straight out of an apprentice program or associate’s. The cost of higher education is encouraging many to go this route.
A WSJ article describes the efficiency at which these machines can produce complex parts in relation to creating them by hand:
“The machines can make one complex part every six minutes, compared with 45 minutes of work on multiple machines once needed to produce a single part. Learning how wasn’t easy for longtime Pioneer employees.” – WSJ
The factory this article discusses now has about a quarter of their original employee count before introducing modern automation – but they all get paid almost twice as much, as well.
Stay tuned for updates tomorrow morning.
Austen Hufford | Photographs by David Kasnic for The Wall Street Journal. (2019, December 9). American Factories Demand White-Collar Education for Blue-Collar Work. Retrieved from https://www.wsj.com/articles/american-factories-demand-white-collar-education-for-blue-collar-work-11575907185?mod=djem10point
US Census Bureau. (2017, December 14). Educational Attainment in the United States: 2017. Retrieved from https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/education-attainment/cps-detailed-tables.html