Is College Worth It?
Nicholas Hart graduated from South Carolina State University in December 2014 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering Technology. Like most college students, Mr. Hart has found it difficult to find employment and had to settle for a job that wages are slightly above minimum wage.
Nicholas Hart said, “I have been looking for a job in my field for almost a year, I have not received a callback from most employers. After being rejected and receiving no responses from jobs, it is discouraging to keep applying.”
There are three colleges in Orangeburg; South Carolina State University, Claflin University, and Orangeburg-Calhoun Technical College. The three colleges are important to the City of Orangeburg. The colleges combined have 7,558 full-time students enrolled, and as of 2013 the City of Orangeburg has 13, 891 residents. College students help support businesses locally, but after graduation students like Nicholas Hart are forced to look elsewhere to pursue their career dreams. The most common industry in Orangeburg is manufacturing at 25 percent, and the most common jobs occupied by males in Orangeburg are food preparation.
Nicholas Hart said, “I grew up outside of Orangeburg, South Carolina, it is home, but now it’s time for leave and pursue my dreams of an engineer. The type of jobs for a college graduate isn’t here.”
Unfortunately for Mr. Hart it has been eleven months since graduation and still no job in his major. He currently works for Lowes, and he doesn’t make enough money to start paying back on his college loans. Although, two weeks ago he did receive an interview for a job in engineering with Savannah River Site located in Aiken, South Carolina.
Nicholas Hart said, “I am hopeful the job will come through, but I have to admit I am a somewhat pessimistic after being rejected for almost one year. We (college students) are told to go to college, get an education, and get a great job; but where are the jobs?”
Mr. Hart is not alone as the data shows underemployment for recent college graduates is at 44 percent and has been growing since 2001. The data also revealed students who are working and received well-paid salaries did not need a college degree.
Nicholas Hart said, “I cannot comprehend how I do all the right things and go to college, and it’s this hard to find a job. Maybe I should have taken the route from my peers in high school and went to the military or worked my way up in a business. I would not have any student loans, and I would be making a decent salary.”