Wednesday, February 11, 2015
More Evidence for the Value of a Liberal Education
This story by Paul Fain at "Inside Higher Ed" reports on several studies of unemployment and job-training. Fain finds that people with bachelor's degrees now have "a rock-bottom unemployment rate of 2.8 percent" as compared to an "overall unemployment rate [of] 5.7 percent." The bachelor's degree remains a good investment. Fain also found that College graduates receive a lot more on the job training, not because they have much more to learn than high school or community college graduates, but because "four-year-college graduates tend to get jobs that are specialized, complex and change over time ... particularly in STEM fields. Wherever the earnings are the strongest, that's where the training occurs... The more educated the workforce, the more training in the job." In other words, employers in our knowledge economy need people who can learn new things all the time, and the people who can do that advance the quickest in their careers. Fain mentions the STEM fields, but learning how to learn and learning to love of learning are central parts of a liberal education rightly pursued. Because of the knowledge-economy, the liberal arts are more practical today than they have ever been.