For most of us, the traditional notion of the “American Dream” – and what it symbolizes in countries around the world – begins with hard work and education and leads to opportunity and a flourishing future. However, in our ever-evolving global economy, the opportunities my generation had are so much more elusive for today’s college-age students and young professionals, many of whom are saddled with debt and ill-equipped to launch careers to set themselves up for a successful future.
A college degree costs 14 times more today than it did in 1965, putting the first step of the American dream out of many people’s grasp. We are the only industrialized nation with a student debt as high as $1.5 trillion. Nearly half of recent college graduates, ages 22 to 27, were underemployed as of March 2016. This reality makes it difficult for the average college graduate to pay monthly rent and bills, let alone repay school loans.
At the same time, according to Career Builder, about 50% of employers say they have job vacancies, but can’t find qualified candidates to fill them. And, for in-demand jobs, considered the best in America, such as data scientist, there are even more job openings and even fewer qualified candidates. This demand for people with key knowledge and professional skills will keep rising as economies and jobs grow more sophisticated. What’s more, in the fast-paced world of constant tech innovation, there are new jobs emerging that didn’t even exist a decade ago, such as data scientist and today is considered one of the best. We have to keep up with our ever-changing, digitally-driven workplace.