Education: The Cure and the Problem
When working with job seekers at Daily Work, our focus tends to be the immediate job search process. However, lately, many of the job seekers I work with have decided to pursue education of one form or another. Whether they are taking a class to get their GED or entering a graduate-level degree program, these job seekers have to carefully balance their families, work, and other obligations, not to mention their finances, for a chance at better opportunities later. This takes massive amounts of dedication and work for which these job seekers should be commended. But the fact that they need to strain this way to make a better life for themselves and their families is a problem.
There are a few ways our society could fix this problem. For example, a free college/trade school public option in each state would help democratize education and allow those with less money to educate themselves without taking on massive debt. Student loan forgiveness would similarly help level the playing field for those who have already educated themselves. Either way, educating oneself should not put anyone into lifelong non-dischargeable debt, nor should it be limited only to the wealthy.
Making education accessible is critically important, but it is not the only necessary change. We as a society need to examine how we view “unskilled” work. Even if “unskilled” work truly required no skill, that work is necessary for our society to function. At Daily Work, we are committed to helping everyone find worthwhile employment, no matter what their level of skill. But services like ours are just one part of the solution. As long as those who do “unskilled” labor are almost uniformly working for poverty wages, as long as we erect a wall between “skilled” and “unskilled” work which one can only overcome with education, and as long as the wealthy are the only ones accessing education without a massive debt burden, wealth inequality will never stop haunting us.
By Josh Brooks, Case Management Intern