Whether it's Darwinian theory or basic logic is irrelevant. All job-seekers need to know that it's getting increasingly difficult to land decent employment without a bachelor's degree.

That's not a new premise, of course. Regardless of the field, four-year degrees have long been seen as a needed pathway to a better life and sustainable employment. While today's trends show that bachelor's degrees are indeed needed, they're often earning job-seekers positions that pay low and require menial tasks.

In other words, today's BA is fast becoming yesterday's high school diploma. And the trickle-down effect that has on high-school grads seeking work is obvious.

Recently, a New York Times story explained how companies such as law firms now often require four-year degrees for entry-level positions such as file clerks jobs that used to be filled by high school graduates or those with two-year degrees.

According to the Times, economists call this "degree inflation" and say this trend is spreading into positions such as dental hygienists, cargo agents and claims adjusters. The bottom line: With high unemployment and tepid job markets, it's now more important than ever for job-seekers to have a college degree on their resume.

Again, that's not new. ...

"Degree inflation" is the real deal; it may get worse. ...

The Anniston (Ala.) Star, Feb.


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American manufacturing can compete and succeed in the global marketplace

Over the past six years, Ford's Engine Plant No. 1 in Brook Park, Ohio, has held a mirror to the health of the domestic auto industry.

In 2007, with Ford hemorrhaging cash, company executives announced they were "temporarily" closing the factory while the company worked through its inventory of engines. The shutdown lasted almost two years while Ford put itself through a painful restructuring and re-imagining of its product lines and strategy and the entire American auto sector suffered a near-death experience.

Recently, Joe Hinrichs, president of Ford's American operations and the man who brought bad news to Brook Park six years ago, was back to announce that the company was bringing work from Europe to suburban Cleveland. Engine Plant No. 1, which reopened in 2009 with a single shift, will soon add 450 employees to the 1,065 working there now. The number could grow even more because the plant will be making the 2-liter EcoBoost engine, a fuel-efficient model the revitalized company deems absolutely critical to future competitiveness.

In a very different era, Ford employed 16,000 in its Brook Park complex. Those days are long gone. But the rebirth of Engine Plant No. 1 thanks in no small measure to the sacrifices of its United Auto Workers members is evidence that American manufacturing can compete and succeed in the global marketplace.

The Plain Dealer, Cleveland, Feb. 24