The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 16, 2013

Our View: Higher ed info is already available


Without doubt, such information is helpful for students making decisions on what fields to pick and what universities to choose. But that information is already available for those who want to look.

For instance, the Minnesota Department of Education along with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities have a booklet, “Pathways to Success” given to parents and high school students. It details the high-demand occupations in the state, what career paths and degrees are needed and what wages to expect. It also offers tips for parents on helping students to develop career paths.

Any Internet search will gather up many sites that offer advice on best-paying careers. Forbes even puts out recommendations on best jobs requiring an associate’s degree.

If a student picks a field because it’s something she loves but then finds out afterward either the field is glutted or salaries are low, it’s usually the result of poor research, not the lack of government services. It doesn’t take too much research to know that the fields of history, sociology, English and, yes, journalism are going to be lower paying than those becoming electricians, who would have a lower wage than electrical engineers.

Nor does this speak to those students who have degrees but for other factors have turned out to be poor job candidates. Maybe they were lacking social skills or good interviewing techniques. A degree doesn’t guarantee you a job if you don’t have your act together.

While the temptation is there for legislators to solve a problem with more legislation, you cannot legislate common sense.

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