Undergrads Training for Unemployment

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

Colleges routinely get away with marketing claims that would make most other industries ripe targets for federal investigators and/or congressional inquisitors. “Economically speaking, few graduates will achieve the hourly salary of their professors,” Paul Kengor writes in the May 2009 issue of The Education Reporter. “Educationally speaking, these degreed citizens perform miserably in basic civic and economic literacy.”

Kengor is a professor of Political Science at Grove City College. The Education Reporter is published by author-attorney-activist Phyllis Schlafly’s group the Eagle Forum.

“The typical tenured professor spends under ten hours per week in the classroom, and gets at least five full months of paid vacation,” Kengor alleges. “No one, from the little library lady to a GM fat-cat, enjoys those perks.”

“As anyone who has sent their 100th resume to a prospective employer already knows, graduating college seniors have little to look forward to this year,” Mass Media Distribution, LLC, points out. In some parts of the country, the situation is particularly bleak.

“From 1997 to 2005, there were nearly 195,000 graduates in Nebraska, while approximately 102,200 new jobs were created in the state,” Kelly Dunlap, an intern with the Platte Institute for economic research found. “Therefore, according to this data, nearly 48% of graduates might have found it necessary to seek employment outside of the state in this timeframe.”

The Platte Institute is based in Nebraska. A fairly recent college grad advises newly minted graduates to think entirely outside the academic box in planning their first career move.

“Today’s graduates no longer need to climb the proverbial ladder in order to make a living and prove their value,” Scott Gerber, a 25-year-old columnist for Entrepreneur.com advises. “Parents might hunt me down and kill me for saying this, but today’s graduates should find a part-time job to pay the bills and dedicate their full-time know-how and passion to building their own businesses.”

Meanwhile, academia is responding to the current economy in the manner in which it reacts to every crisis—by having conferences. For example, Carnegie Mellon is having a Game Education Summit.

It’s too late for university graduates but high school seniors contemplating college may want to contemplate taking a third way. M. Stanton Evans once jocularly suggested such an approach: Put the money you borrow for college into an interest-bearing account with a higher yield than your original loan extracts in interest and spend the next four years flipping burgers and playing the lottery.

As Kengor suggests, you’ll get about the same education. Moreover, if you really miss the “intellectual stimulation” college offers these days, just flip on National Public Radio, or even Al Jazeera.

“Our universities are the most monolithic institutions in America,” Kengor argues. “There may be more ideological diversity in the Taliban.”

Indeed, most professors seem to define give-and-take as their giving their opinions and students taking them.

Malcolm A. Kline is the executive director of Accuracy in Academia.