The millennial generation: its many changes and economic woes

By Jan Dolcater | May 04, 2017

The changes and economic woes of the millennial generation is a very significant topic today, as this 18-to-34 age group comprises the largest percentage of our total population. It is important for all citizens to understand their situation and where their inclinations are leading.

An important concern for many of this age group is finishing school, which is ranked most important by 60 percent. Today more students are attending college than ever before. An accompanying figure of this increase in attendance is the $1.4 trillion in student debt they have accumulated. When you couple this information with the stagnant economy of the last eight years, you are confronted with a large number of graduates with large sums of debt and not enough good jobs to provide them independence.

The unpleasant result is that now 41 percent of male millennials have annual earnings of $30,000 or less, as revealed in a recent survey of the U.S. Census. It is apparent that there are far too many individuals completing college and ending up in a dead-end situation. Many who fall into this category are still living with their parents instead of beginning a new family of their own.

In my opinion, and I hope you will join me in the need for the recognition of vocational training. We are very fortunate to have in Rockland an excellent resource in Mid-Coast School of Technology. There are also 26 other similar facilities across the state. We are blessed at Mid-Coast to have numerous courses that offer opportunities for high school students to pursue careers that provide better incomes than those now being earned by the millennial group noted above.

Let’s examine several potential areas, including machine tools, diesel engine technology, welding/fabrication, marine technology, auto technology and health occupations. Depending on the career field selected, annual wages for qualified individuals in these fields range from $40,000 to $80,000. In the past, vocational training was often looked down upon, but today it makes more sense for many of our young to pursue a career where it is possible to attain a solid income without the burden of student loan debt, rather than pursuing college degrees that lead to a dead end. I am not condemning those who complete college with a definitive career path, but far too many do not have one.

Mid-Coast School of Technology also has a wide range of courses for adults offering career options that can provide opportunities for much better income levels. These courses may not be as complete and defined as those offered to the students, but they are a definite plus. I encourage adults in our area and other areas as well to explore these viable options of vocational training.

Please do not drift along from job to job with no reliable future in view, and explore our jewel, Mid-Coast School of Technology. Our current unemployment rate in Maine is only 3 percent; however, many of the people currently employed are not making a very attractive or livable income. Step up and make the change for a better life for yourself and your family.

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