Let’s start off with some evidence that high school just isn’t “high” anymore.
The Labor experts in the US are constantly trying to project how many people will work in different fields in the coming years. Their post-pandemic projections show some alarming things, at least for those jobs requiring less education.
Their latest assessment forecast a boom for epidemiologists and other health-science jobs that will make us more prepared for future viruses that are sure to come. For the most part, the sectors originally projected to grow the fastest over the next decade are nurse practitioners, home health aides and many other health care occupations are still projected to grow fastest.
Sectors that are projected to shrink the most are those such as administrative assistants, mail carriers and product inspectors — are still projected to decline similarly in the pandemic-affected scenarios. The sectors facing even further job loss because of the pandemic are low-wage sectors where workers are already struggling. That is not unexpected.
When the forward lookers group occupations by educational requirements instead of wages that tells it all. For jobs requiring a bachelor’s or graduate degree, projected upbeat employment growth remains nearly the same under the pandemic-affected picture. The decline in projected employment growth because of the pandemic is almost entirely concentrated in jobs requiring only a high school diploma or no diploma.
In other words, it seems like the pandemic will only exasperate the growing income inequality we have faced for a few decades now. It seems the only viable way to overcome this inequity is to do what’s necessary to help people continue their educations beyond high school. The low paying service jobs should be limited to those who are initially entering the workforce as a “starter” job instead of being considered full-time employment. High school just isn’t “high” any longer. Maybe the first psychological step is to re-name those years as “secondary” instead of “high”. The path would then be:
Primary Education => Secondary Education => Trade Schools or College (and for some to post college).
The purpose of secondary education (now defined as high school) will be to get the students ready to be adults. Higher education is where job training comes in. We need to change the mindset that high school is a viable stopping point for anyone anymore, if it ever was… Education is a lifelong endeavor now as it probably should have been decades ago.