Jan 24 2010
10:02 am

According to a Tennessean article shared by WBIR:

"There's a perception out there that if you don't go to college, you're a failure," said Mark Lenz, director of the Tennessee Technology Center in Nashville. "There are jobs out there that require skills, not degrees. If you get an associate's (degree) and can't do anything with it, what good is it?"

Is this the norm for most states (i.e. 80% of jobs do not require college degrees)?

Does Pellissippi State Community College offer the necessary programs to meet the skills in demand? Are high school students in the Knoxville area being encouraged to attend PSCC?

Tess's picture

Not only that, but the

Not only that, but the community colleges that offer the technical/medical assistant degrees are bursting at the seams with people who have college degrees, but are returning to get an associate degree in something that will lead to a well-paying job.

My DIL has a master's degree but is finishing up a 2-yr. degree in a medical area. She will make more money with a job that requires the medical asst. certification. And, there are actually jobs to be found in the certification areas.

CathyMcCaughan's picture

look forward or move backwards

Wouldn't it be in the state's best interest for there to be more jobs in TN that require higher educational achievement?

"As a follow up, Mr. Patterson asked Sen. Burchett if the state budget shortfall was as bad as people say. Sen. Burchett said "it's as bad as they say or possibly worse," noting that we've had 19 straight months of declining revenues and he doesn't see it getting any better."

sugarfatpie's picture

More education, more pay, more tax revenues

Good point.
There is plenty of evidence to support the proposition that more education leads to more pay.
More pay means more tax revenues for the state.
More revenues means fewer budget problems.

-Sugarfatpie (AKA Alex Pulsipher)

"X-Rays are a hoax."-Lord Kelvin

Tess's picture

Not moving backwards

I may be missing the point of this post, but the perception that everyone needs a four year degree is wrong, IMO.

There are plenty of skilled labor and technical/medical jobs that are valid career destinations that don't require a four year degree.

These should be presented to high school students as an option. Maybe they are, but my sense is that most of the emphasis is on steering them towards getting into a four/five year college program.

Also, there is no time limit on a four year degree. One could get an associates and work, and then go back later.

ANGRYWOLF's picture


in most of those ancillary medical type fields the pay is putrid.Awful.
In some of them, not all but some, the people employed in those fields believe they are unappreciated by the patients/public they have to deal with and mistreated by doctors and nurses.

Those fields , with the exception of MDs and RNs aren't worth going into from a financial viewpoint or an esteem viewpoint.

I don't know what the country is going to do to produce decent good paying jobs.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

The norm?

Is this the norm for most states (i.e. 80% of jobs do not require college degrees)?

Well, I found this...

Minnesota predicts that between 2006 and 2016, 30% of their job openings WILL require a college degree, which presumably means that 70% WILL NOT:


And the Economic Policy Institute's read was even more gloomy...

"The Bureau of Labor Statistics has consistently projected that the number of college graduates in the U.S. labor market will continue to match (or exceed) the number of job openings requiring college education. Indeed, BLS finds that many of the largest areas of future job growth in the American economy are in occupations requiring little skill, not even a two-year post-secondary credential - waiters and waitresses, retail salespersons, truck drivers, janitors, home health aides."


Ours is the first generation in U. S. history said not to have achieved a level of financial success equal to that of our parents. EPI seems to suggest that our children will be the second such generation.

BarbaraJ's picture

Minnesota's Outlook

I live in Minnesota and have been out of work for a year. I went to technical college and have my certificate in office administration. Too bad that every job I look at - even entry level receptionist positions paying $10 an hour - all demand a BA.
That's right, people, Minnesota companies are demanding a 4-year degree to answer phones at $10 an hour. Why? Because they can.
We have a metric boatload of Fortune 500 companies in the Twin Cities and everyone wants to work for them so they can pick and choose and with 9 to 16% unemployment (depending upon which set of statistics you believe), they can make every crazyass demand in the world and people will jump at the chance to get a paycheck.
The people I know who do not have at least a BA are working jobs they've been in for at least 5 years. Everyone looking for work now (except in the car washing and burger flipping industries) is getting the door slammed in their face if they don't have a degree.
I'm going back in the fall to finish mine. Then, I'll probably end up back in office administration. I'm just hoping it's not at $10 an hour.

Tamara Shepherd's picture

About "encouragement?"

Does Pellissippi State Community College offer the necessary programs to meet the skills in demand? Are high school students in the Knoxville area being encouraged to attend PSCC?

As to these questions, I'm not enough familiar with PSCC to know whether their programs meet demand. However, it would seem that most college-bound Knox County students will land there, rather than at their town's flagship four-year university I mean, if for no other reason than that most can't gain admittance to the four-year school.

For 2009, Knox County's graduating seniors pulled an average ACT score just shy of 22, while UTK's incoming frosh boasted an average ACT score just shy of 27.


I suspect the truer picture, though, is that unless their parents are encouraging college, students aren't necessarily being encouraged to attend at all. Those three guidance counselors per 1,500- or 1,800- or 2,100-student high school are spread pretty thin.

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