Promoting adult education in a fully employed economy
Month after month the job market picture for the US economy continues to show consistent strength. While the June 2018 unemployment rate ticked up slightly to 4.0% from 3.8%, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported another increase of 213,000 jobs for the month. It seems like any business you visit right now has a help wanted sign in the front window, with some paying substantial signing bonuses for new employees. While this continues to provide good news for the economy as a whole, it certainly presents challenges to post-secondary education providers.
For trade and vocational programs, low unemployment limits the demand for new enrollments as training is no longer required to secure a job. Likewise, for advanced degree institutions, employers are already paying premium wages to recruit and retain employees without the ability to require higher levels of education attainment. This limits the motivation for students to pursue additional degree completions and limits their gains in earning potential after graduation.
While these are certainly challenges, with good planning and an effective strategy institutions can still be successful. After all, the key value proposition of the education is a better job after graduation. A strong job market is always a positive to promote high placement rates and the ability for graduates to capitalize on the value of their education.
A few key areas to focus on in the current job market:
Mike McHugh, CEO