What is obvious is this: Brand Higher Education is in play.
At one time, the brand was of high value and stable. Beginning with the Baby Boomers who were the first generation in America to enroll in college en masse, higher education was positioned and packaged as sacred. It was impossible to consume enough of it.
There were no counter-forces. The tuition was relatively low. The job market was booming, except for a recession now and then. Therefore, the risk factors associated with investing in a college education and more were irrelevant.
No surprise, doubt set in when the expense of college saddled youth with staggering debt. In addition, the job market of the 21st century is not as filled with broad opportunity as had been the 20th century one.
Therefore, potential consumers of higher education now have options to consider.
There is trade school.
During The Great Recession, the plumbers and electricians in central Connecticut were working non-stop. We The Highly Degreed scrambled to find jobs and just-in-time assignments. Meanwhile, the cost of living in CT, especially property taxes, was and is wild. Me, with so many academic credentials, put $19k on a credit card. Eventually, since my business was 95% telecommuting, I relocated. The tradespeople are still there.
There is being entrepreneurial from the get-go.
Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg do not have college degrees. Tech isn't the only way. In Jersey City, New Jersey, my aunts from Italy set up grocery stores for other Italian immigrants. Before they were 60, they retired at the Jersey shore. Today, they might purchase a franchise.
In addition, there is the old-line working one's way up.
Common paths range from selling cars to building maintenance. The top producers at Nissan, for which I created marketing content, had no formal education beyond high school. Among those who lost their jobs was a marketing executive with a master's degree.
Do I regret pursuing degrees? No and yes.
From a blue-collar background, I gained intellectual skills through my four years in college. In addition, there was a formal introduction to the cultural history of civilization.
The downside was that I felt compelled to figure out the right answer - or what that standardized test or professor designated was the right answer. Such boxed-in thinking limits success in the free-wheeling 21st century.
It was through zen that I broke free from being such a closed system. The mantra at the zen center in New Haven, CT is: Clear Thinking, Don't Know.
Here in my blue-collar neighborhood in Eastern Ohio, the focus is on survival, not the right answer. During 2017, my communications boutique earned record revenues. I relocated here in September 2016.
Get a second opinion about your marketing and advocacy communications. No pressure. No charge. Please contact Jane Genova, email@example.com or @genova_jane.