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Finding Opportunity Amid the Scary (Job) Statistics

Finding Opportunity Amid the Scary (Job) Statistics

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic’s November 2009 figures, unemployment among college-educated civilian adults 25 years and older is merely 4.6 percent

Jonathon S. Feit | GovCentral Contributing Writer

What does this mean, in practical terms? Low unemployment among highly educated individuals doesn’t just mean hiring isn’t happening—that’s a scary message, but there are details lost in the communiqué. It also means that few people are leaving their jobs; they relish the security they have. In some cases, lower-educated individuals find fewer opportunities because higher-educated folks are taking their spots. But given the 4.6% among college-educated people, there MUST be far more jobs in need of filling than there are college-educated people who aren’t currently employed. That equates to an excellent (perhaps unparalleled in our lifetime) opportunity to stand out from the crowd by being excellent at what one does, proving that skill level and education level are hardly the same thing. Remember: the government needs people to work across every level of training and specialty, from rocket scientists to fuel mechanics to typists to medical technologists to legislators to computer geeks to animal trainers.

Within these frightening statistics is therefore an optimistic message: everyone involved in the revamp of USAJobs—from President Obama on down through OMB, OPM, the Department of Labor, and every executive agency—noticed profoundly that people of every political and demographic persuasion, and especially younger people new to the workforce, turned out in force following the 2008 election to take part in the rejuvenation (a perfect descriptor of the circumstances) of America. We heard the President’s message of hope, whether or not we agreed with the specifics of his plan. (Full disclosure: I am a proudly centrist, fiscally conservative Democrat.)

But weathering the current employment and economic crises calls for moving past hope to confidence. To apply for a government job is to vest faith in the American people; as a nation of individuals bound together since our earliest days (remember: “E Pluribus Unum”), the proudest declaration of faith in the people is faith in ones own ability to rise to the challenge and gainfully contribute. Indeed. We. Can!

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