(ARA) – As the economy shrinks, Americans spend more and more time thinking about how to keep the job they have or how to find a new job after losing one. It’s no secret that employment is harder to find today than in the past. April 2009 findings from the U.S. Department of Labor Bureau of Statistics show the fewest number of job openings available in the U.S. since December 2000. What’s more, each year a new batch of new high school and college graduates enters the job market, adding to the competitive climate.

It is a personal choice whether one seeks employment with or without a college degree. But, does a degree really matter?

Sheryl Decker, director of career services at Brown Mackie College – South Bend says, “A degree is the most important investment you can make in yourself. America is not a manufacturing society anymore, and education is key to obtaining employment in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.”

Martha Schottelkotte, director of career services at Brown Mackie College – Cincinnati concurs. “At every orientation session, we challenge students to look at education as an investment in future earnings and income potential,” she says. “Their success depends on how they decide to invest in themselves.”

“The earning potential over a lifetime is vastly different with each level of education achieved,” says Schottelkotte. “It translates to a potential of an extra $300 to $400 a week, which goes well beyond keeping a cell phone turned on. Students begin to think in terms of paying off loans, taking a vacation, or saving for a down payment on a house. It speaks to a difference in lifestyle that a degree offers.”

A bigger paycheck is not the only reason for getting a degree. Both Schottelkotte and Decker note additional benefits a degree offers. “A degree enriches their lives,” Schottelkotte remarks, “and self-esteem grows from the sense of accomplishment.”

The college experience opens doors to more than book learning. “Our students get hands-on laboratory experience in our many different programs,” says Decker. “Challenges are built into the coursework. Students are exposed to experts in their field of study, and given excellent networking opportunities.”

Student enrollment across the country reflects the diversity in the workplace itself. “We’re seeing kids out of high school in class with some who have worked at a factory for 30 years,” Decker notes. “With so many plants closing, people find themselves starting over with a new career path.” Schottelkotte adds, “Our students are real people with real-life commitments looking for the means to take their lives to the next level. An associate’s degree can be affordable, in both financial investment and time commitment. They come to college to increase their marketability, raise their chance for promotion, and of course, to earn more money.”

For more information on the benefits of a college degree, visit BrownMackie.edu.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

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