In today’s retched economy, it can be very difficult to find any glimmer of hope. However, the over-saturation of college degrees can actually be a good thing for independent, entrepreneurial thinkers. High paying jobs are in short supply, however it is often in the face of adversity that people achieve the most. Fortune’s Scott Gerber reveals why Millennials should be turning towards entrepreneurship to create jobs and grow the economy:
In the 60s and 70s, going to college became the hallmark of American middle-class success — and a surefire ticket to a “real” job. As a result, the number of bachelor’s-degree holders skyrocketed, and it’s now at 30% of the U.S. population. The job market didn’t follow suit, thanks in large part to globalization, automation, and outsourcing.
Given that — and the fact that 40% of young Americans age eight to 24 want to start a business, or already have — we must stop discouraging Millennials from creating their own jobs after graduation (or in some cases, as an alternative to college altogether).
Critics argue that youth entrepreneurship won’t move the needle when it comes to our nation’s financial woes, but that’s a short-term view. If all future high school seniors were educated about the alternatives to “real” employment, from freelancing to franchising, we would eventually increase their chance of success — while spurring job creation, lowering the federal student loan default rate (currently around 9% and climbing) and fueling a needed cultural shift toward self-sufficiency.
In the classroom, offering entrepreneurship education as early as kindergarten pays dividends far into the future. High schools like New York City’s Academy for Software Engineering serve as models for teaching practical tech skills that both entrepreneurs and employees need to compete.
This is just the beginning of a much larger conversation, of course. But with the class of 2012 about to embark on the same tired path, it’s time to embrace a paradigm shift. America has a long history of entrepreneurial thinkers. If we continue to assess risk by yesterday’s standards and fail to support the Millennials who earnestly want to keep America competitive, we will let only ourselves down.