One contributing factor for the high unemployment rate in the U.S. is people with only a high school degree. Although a high school degree is still important, this degree limits a person’s upward mobility within a company or even traps them in a declining occupation.

Why? Because the U.S. is shifting from a manufacturing-based economy to a service and knowledge-based economy, where higher education is essential for employment stability.

Job Security: Social and Economic Stability

Success in a chosen career field is critical to enjoying a good social and economic lifestyle. Any good custom software development firm points that adult continuing education programs provide a path to this success for the following reasons.

  • Upward Mobility – earning a college degree is a great equalizer in society today. Even though you may begin life in a low-income socioeconomic background, earning a college degree holds the promise of career advancement opportunities.
  • An Education Foundation – the need for a college education is driven primarily by the business sector. Businesses require a well-educated workforce to meet their service or knowledge-based industry requirements. These education prerequisites are viewed as the foundation for jump-starting a languishing career.
  • Job Stability – a college education provides increased job stability and satisfaction through preparation and planning for a career. Continuing education beyond high school exposes adults to information and resources for a more up-to-date decision-making process regarding career choices.
  • Retraining Programs – for anyone employed in a declining occupation, new job skills are often necessary for entering a new occupation. This is accomplished by earning a two-year or four-year college degree or certificate.
  • Global Economy – the impact of a global economy, along with technological advances in the workplace, requires workers to learn the job skills necessary for this world economy. Science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) skills are in high demand today. To succeed in this international environment, earning a STEM degree is one educational path for jump-starting a stagnating or lost career with new job skills and knowledge.
  • Continuing Education – for anyone not currently in danger of losing their job, the day may come when they find themselves unemployed for a host of reasons. This is why continuing education to stay current in a chosen occupation is vital for remaining knowledgeable of the latest trends and practices.
  • Fastest Growing Occupations – some of the fastest-growing occupations require an associate, bachelor’s, master’s, or advanced degree. These jobs include biomedical engineers, financial examiners, registered nurses, teachers, computer software engineers, physician assistants, and network systems analysts.

Baby Boomers: Remaining in the Workforce

Remaining in the workforce is sometimes a financial or personal necessity for baby boomers as they reach retirement age. Why do they seek additional adult education? The following provides a window into their world.

  • Need for Community Involvement – pursuing an additional education degree or certification in community relations and activities offers boomers a chance for a second career or participation in community leadership or activism. Added education achievement supports their need for relevance and social needs.
  • Financial Security – in a study conducted by the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement in 2005, adults in the age range 41 to 59 find additional education a necessity for remaining current in their occupation or for entering a new career field. This need is a result of living longer, along with the need to continue working for financial security.
  • Second Career – a second career is on the table for boomers who were forced into early retirement or need to reenter the workforce after the recent recession. For many without education beyond high school, adult education programs offer an opportunity to retrain for a new career.

Making a Connection

The need for retraining or earning an advanced degree or certification is necessary today. Why? The U.S. economy is transforming to meet global market demands. The need for large numbers of workers in many manufacturing occupations is declining. This is due to advances in technology, along with cheaper labor in other countries.

Enrollment in adult education programs by baby boomers is often necessary. Why? Two reasons are being forced into early retirement or outright losing their jobs. Many baby boomers in these two situations are too young to retire or simply cannot financially afford not to work. This dilemma has caused boomers in these circumstances to enroll in continuing education opportunities to jump-start a new career.

Because of the global economy, the need for people to reinvent themselves professionally is growing. For anyone wondering why higher education is essential today, the demand for well-educated workers in service or knowledge-based occupations is growing.