Where are the jobs of the future?
In the years after World War II, American factories cranked out goods for all the people home from the War or who had been here waiting for loved ones to come home. Many people made things in factories. A college diploma was not necessary. A high school diploma was not necessary. Work on an assembly line generally paid well and provided good benefits.
Construction trades required more skills, but paid more money and still required no diplomas. I met people in the trades who were craftsmen at what they did.
For those with the intelligence, college was an obvious option. Scholarships were available if one’s grades were high enough. Tuition was relatively low at most state schools. In some states tuition was free for in-state students (and still is in a few where a student qualifies by grades). A job after college was not troublesome. Companies hired college graduates as companies always had.
If one persevered, there were schools after undergrad. Medical school and law school were popular choices. Again, those meant more money had to be spent, but the promised rewards were great. Grad school in other disciplines held out the realistic hope of work in various areas, both in the private and public sector.
There always was the government for which to work.
The military was a place to go as a last refuge, when I was in high school, college and in law school. The pay was not high but the benefits were good.
The decent-paying jobs on the assembly lines have disappeared. The jobs went to other countries, where pay is much lower than here in the United States and companies are not bothered by nasty safety regulations or environmental restrictions such as people fought and worked to obtain for decades. The jobs also disappeared into robots that spin, bend, weld, and pass the unit onto the next robot in the assembly line. If humans are necessary on the line, they are paid a little more than half of what a UAW person earned ten years ago, and with few (if any) of the benefits.
College is extremely expensive. When someone graduates, jobs are not easily obtained. At the same time, many graduates labor under enormous debt from loans used to finance their educations.
Government has been popular as a target for budget cuts. The workers in government pay taxes, though. That money is spent locally.
That means the last choice of years before is about the only hope many young people have. The military is there. We have an absurdly large budget for "defense."
Of course, enterprising student always can go into venture capitalism. That worked for Mitt Romney.