Go to college, be a .... waiter

Long-time Machine Design readers may recall one of our editorials in which we suggested many kids who would be better off going to trade schools instead wind up in four-year colleges which do them little good:


More evidence supporting this view recently surfaced from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity (CCAP) which found that approximately 60% of the increase in the number of college graduates from 1992 to 2008 worked in low-skilled jobs that only require a high school diploma.

An item on the Chronicle of Higher Education site breaks down the numbers. Writing there, economist Richard Vedder says that in 1992 119,000 waiters and waitresses were college degree holders. By 2008, this number had more than doubled to 318,000. While the total number of waiters and waitresses grew by about 1 million during this period, 20% of all new jobs in this occupation were filled by college graduates. The statistics are similar for cashiers. While 132,000 cashiers possessed college degrees in 1992, by 2008, 365,000 cashiers were college graduates. As with waiters and waitresses, 20% of new cashiers since 1992 are college graduates.

Vedder comes to some interesting conclusions based on this data. He says the push to boost the number of college graduates seems horribly misguided from a strict economic/vocational perspective. As we pointed out in our editorial, he feels we really don't need more college graduates.

Second, he says the data suggest a horrible decline in the productivity of American education: It now takes 18 years of schooling for people to get an education for jobs that a generation or two ago people did with 12-13 years of education.

You can find Vedder's piece here: http://chronicle.com/blogs/innovations/the-great-college-degree-scam/28067?sid=at&utm_source=at&utm_medium=en

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