A lot of information is available stating that a college education is a great investment. The writers  back their statements with data and statistics too.

What many fail to say, however, is the “Your results may vary” disclaimer.

If you can land a degree-relevant job, their data and statistics are correct.

But if you cannot land a degree-relevant job, the amount you are wagering  on college is your

  • actual out of pocket PLUS
  • proceeds from college loans PLUS
  • interest that you will have to pay until the loans are paid off.

All the while “NOT” getting a payoff for the “investment.”

How large is the "Luck Component" of your career plan?
How large is the “Luck Component” of your career plan?

So what are the chances of failing to land that degree-relevant job?

The good news is that underemployment among young college  grads is now only 44% according to The Atlantic.

That is good news because  last year the figure was over 53% were jobless or underemployed.

Sounds like more than a bit of luck is part of the college degree pathway.

The odds  of landing a degree relevant job aren’t terribly encouraging while the debt and investment consequences are substantial- regardless of employment outcome.

What of those who do not find degree relevant employment?

According to the BLS Table 6:  “15.1% of all persons with bachelor degree or higher that work at hourly wage rates are being paid at or below minimum wage.”

Here’s the table

15.1 % of  persons bachelor degree or higher that work at hourly wage rates are being paid at or below minimum wage.
15.1 % of persons bachelor degree or higher that work at hourly wage rates are being paid at or below minimum wage.

Starting a career in precision machining does not require a substantial input of luck.

Within a year of skills training at a local community college you can have the skills needed to land a well paying job as a precision machinist. Our shops are hiring, sentiment for employment among our business trends respondents remains above 90%, and on average our shops are scheduling almost 3 hours of overtime. Each week.

A career in advanced manufacturing as a skilled precision machinist doesn’t take luck.

Thought you might like to know…

Find training

Proof the jobs are there

About a career in precision machining.


The labor participation rate fell to 66.3 percent it’s lowest level in 34 years in March. What recovery?

Recovery? HA!
Recovery? HA!

Even the Huffington Post has figured out that we have a structural unemployment problem:

With more than 3 million open and available jobs on the career website CareerBliss.com alone, why do we keep seeing the labor participation rate dropping?

The answer is that employers can’t find the right workers. Too many unemployed American workers lack the relevant skills needed to fill the millions of jobs available.” -Heidi Golledge

That sure doesn’t sound like ‘cyclical unemployment’ to me.

Here’s more from HuffPost: “If you look at the current employment numbers there is a quality job out there for just about every graduate — if only they would have been guided toward courses of study that would give them the skills most in demand. We can start to bridge the skills gap now by guiding future workers toward growing and emerging industries.”

Sounds like the definition of structural unemployment to me: Structural unemployment is a form of unemployment which occurs when the number of vacancies is equal to, or greater than, the number of the unemployed. The unemployed workers may lack the skills needed for the jobs, or they may not live in the part of the country or world where the jobs are available.

We have been talking about this issue for some time- here, here, here, here are some of our most recent ones.

For a great (but ominous) discussion of just how bad this is, read The Market Ticker’s post: “The Chart That Will Crash The Market.

It is about this Labor Participation Rate chart posted above.

We need to give people skills so that they can be hired. Our industry is hiring. Info about skills  and careers can be found here. Need training? Check out PMPA’s Comprehensive Training Database.