In this episode, professor Paul Harrington, a labor market economist from Drexel University shares with Mary Churchill the challenges of mal-employment where a college education does not convert to a job after graduation in the field of study. Not only is this a prevalent condition but it leads to serious negative economic consequences for starting salary and future individual economic development. Paul and Mary discuss the contributing factors and various ways that higher education can address key academic skill learning and experiential activities in the workplace can reduce mal-employment.
Topics Discussed in this Episode:
Resources Discussed in this Episode:
Music Credits: C’est La Vie by Derek Clegg
ExperiencED Season 1, Episode 2
Jim Stellar: [00:00:00] Welcome to the ExperienceEd podcast. I am Jim Stellar.
[00:00:12] Mary Churchill: [00:00:12] I am Mary Churchill
[00:00:13] Adrienne Dooley: [00:00:13] And I'm Adrienne Dooley.
[00:00:15] Jim Stellar: [00:00:15] We bring you this podcast on experiential education
[00:00:18] Mary Churchill: [00:00:18] With educators and thought leaders
[00:00:20] Adrienne Dooley: [00:00:20] From around the country and the world.
[00:00:24] Mary Churchill: [00:00:24] We are pleased today to be interviewing Paul Harrington, a labor market economist who is a Professor in Drexel University's School of Education - already an interesting beginning - and who came to that post from Northeastern University, another cooperative education school. Professor Harrington also serves as the Director for the Center of Labor Markets and Policy.
[00:00:45] He has published on a variety of research topics ranging from health labor markets to college labor markets to disability in the labor market, to economic outlook. But where we want to begin today is with a 2011 report you wrote with Neeta Fogg “Rising Mal-Employment and the Great Recession: The Growing Disconnection between Recent College Graduates and the College Labor Market.”
[00:01:08] We want to talk with Professor Harrington about this phenomenon of mal-employment. Welcome. I remember you from Northeastern.
[00:01:16] Paul Harrington: [00:01:16] Yeah, I was there many years ago, you know, it's back in 2000. Your name is very familiar to me Mary.
[00:01:24] Mary Churchill: [00:01:24] I was there 94 to 2009.
[00:01:27 Paul Harrington: [00:01:27] Yeah, mostly I was there the whole time.
[00:01:29] Mary Churchill: [00:01:29] Yeah, let's get into this. Okay, so welcome and thank you for joining us on this new podcast venture that Jim and Adrienne and I are on. I finished reading your article last night, this morning, a combination. It's amazing. I've already started talking to folks in the school of education where I'm working about it and saying we can't just train people to be teachers. We have to give them some other skills that will make them more marketable. But before we dive into this conversation about the study on mal-employment, I added this question. What has drawn you to this topic? And to really strong co-op schools as well? So why did you choose your field of labor market economics and have you ever been mal-employed?
[00:02:20] Paul Harrington: [00:02:20] So, yes good questions. No, I've never been mal-employed. I was always a kid that worked a lot. Pretty early on, I got savvy about how to get jobs and understand. Your earlier work, you know that kind of work experience. What it does is it kind of gives you a better understanding about how to build networks, connections, what it takes. Yeah, my interest in labor economics really came from my undergraduate education.
[00:02:52] I started off studying politics and as I got to it, I found it didn't have many answers. I took an economics course and said hey these guys got it, you know. And I just became very curious about it and started getting involved in economics pretty extensively and then decided I really liked this labor field, got involved with some professors who were really good, you know allowed me to kind of do some interesting things when I was an undergraduate and then that teed me up for a post-graduation job at the Bureau of Labor Statistics and cooperative education played a really important role in that.
[00:03:29] And allowed me to get a job in the federal government that a college kid just could not have gotten. It was cooperative education system that allowed you to do that. So, you know, I had sort of an intuitive appreciation of the idea of mixing work and school based on my own experience. But and then there's a question - okay, does it really matter? How does it work? What are the gains to it, if any? You know, more kind of a scientific empirical set of issues.
[00:03:55] Mary Churchill: [00:03:55] Yeah, I know. It's interesting that you say that you haven't been because of this working-class background. I also with a working-class background. I feel like I'm always on the hustle, right?
[00:04:05] Like I'm always hustling for the next side hustle or like something. I've always worked so hard and always thought about the future and making sure that I had a job tomorrow because I didn't have a back-up plan. Right? It was me. So, I hear that there is this drive that is an imperative to make sure your you've got employment. So mal-employment is not a term you hear every day.
[00:04:28] So can you give us a layman's term definition of that and then some examples?
[00:04:34] Paul Harrington: [00:04:34] Yeah. So, if you think about, you know kids who are graduating from college this year, last couple of years, the overwhelming share of them will be engaged in the job market at the bachelor's degree level - they'll have a job. Unemployment - about 90% will be participating in the labor market and the unemployment rate for the ninety percent will be about 2%, 3% forces. That may be a little bit higher than that, but not terribly high. That the bigger labor market problem that college grads have is not getting a job, it's getting a job that uses the knowledge, skills, and abilities that are associated with a college degree and therefore getting their earnings premium that are associated with earning a college degree. So, for a lot of kids, it's not a transition to a job, it's a transition to the job in the college labor market, okay? And occupations that use those proficiencies. And so, graduates who get a job, but don't work in the college labor market, don't get jobs in that college labor market segment, are those that we defined as mal-employed.
[00:05:37] They got a job but they're not using the skills and abilities that are associated with getting a college degree and a consequence of that is they don't get any gain from getting a degree.
[00:05:48]Mary Churchill: [00:05:48] That economic and that social capital gain?
[00:05:51] Paul Harrington: [00:05:51] ] Yeah premium. Yeah. So, what's an example of this? So, let's say your political science major.
[00:05:59] Okay? And you graduate from school and you get a job as a claims representative or human resource associate in an insurance company. Well, I would call that a college labor market job. Okay? It's not directly related to political science, but it's a job where you use, you know, your cognitive abilities, your analytical abilities, and you got some upward mobility potential so that would be something to me a college labor market job. Okay, if you graduate from college with a political science degree to get a job as a bartender or janitor. okay, then you would be mal-employed.
[00:06:38] Okay, you could have gotten that job. The job requirements or skill requirements in those jobs just don't require any of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that you had in college and most of the people you're working with - your peers - you know have much lower levels of educational attainment and lower skills, to be honest.
[00:06:54] Mary Churchill: [00:06:54] Well, I really was struck by the kind of difference between over educated and underemployed and right, this different way of looking at mal-employment.
[00:07:04] So that that was fascinating: different lenses. And I like, this example. I also think of with this new gig economy and everybody's got the side gig and you know, people are doing a side hustle driving Lyft driving for Lyft or driving for Uber. Does that figure into this at all or no?
[00:07:24] Paul Harrington: [00:07:24] Yes. Oh, so, you know the there's not a good handle on the magnitude of sort of the gig economy, you know the and in my world they call it electronically mediated work. All right, and all that means is that your work assignments and your pay and the like are all kind of, all delivered through an electronic media and you're not a wage and salary worker or payroll worker at that firm.
[00:07:53] You're an independent worker. You're on your own. So, you know the size of that is estimated to be not very large, maybe a million jobs on a base of a hundred fifty million, you know, so it's not viewed as I don't think it's really, you know, an important supplement for college grads right now.
[00:08:10] There's some exceptions to that but mostly it's not such a big deal.
[00:08:13] Mary Churchill: [00:08:13] Okay. There's a lot of hype about in the newspapers though, in the media.
[00:08:16] Paul Harrington: [00:08:16] ] Exactly by 23-year-old kids who have gig jobs because you get paid nothing to be a reporter.
[00:08:23] Mary Churchill: [00:08:23] Yeah. So, moving on to the next question. What was the rate of mal-employment that you found in the 2011 study versus today?
[00:08:31] Paul Harrington: [00:08:31] Yeah. So, if you look at the pre-recession period you go back to 2006, 2007 before the Great Recession, the mal-employment rate for college grads was pretty high. It was about a third, about one in three kids were mal-employed. And when you actually get to the worst mal-employment year, it's actually 2012 and we went up to about 41 percent of all employed. new college grads were mal-employed.
[00:08:53] You get to today what we see happening is that we've gotten some gains. We've got the mal-employment rate back down to about 36 percent of employed college grads, but that's still at the 2010 level. We haven't gotten back to that 33% mal-employment rate that we had back prior to the recession.
[00:09:17] So the recovery's helped but that transition problem for kids out of college is very still very severe.
[00:09:25] Mary Churchill: [00:09:25] Can you explain to me what's happening at the other end of the spectrum? As someone who's 53 years old, it seems like it goes, you know, kind of weird. There's high mal-employment when you're younger and then it goes down and it goes down and then it goes back up again.
[00:09:39] Paul Harrington: [00:09:39] Well, so I mean two things with that Mary. One is that, starting off as mal-employed is tough. That's something that that's an obstacle you now have to overcome because you've had a bad transition out of college. So, for youngsters who start off as mal-employed, it takes a long time maybe 20 25 years to make up those early earnings deficits.
[00:10:00] It's a very powerful. So, getting a good start is really important. That when you look at prime age workers. Okay, 25 to 54 is how economists think of that although that's probably an antiquated definition at this point. When you think about that population what you see is that you know, the mal-employment rate it still is about 25% It doesn't go away. Still a lot of under-utilization some of it's voluntary but some of it's involuntary
[00:10:33] because we see labor force attachment starting to decline, right? People are just withdrawing from the job market. And so, the labor force participation of people say 55 to 64 is sharply below what it is for people 25 to 54. The people who tend to stay in the job market though are those with high levels of educational attainment in college labor market jobs, and they tend to stay in much longer through 65 to 74.
[00:10:57] You know and their participation in the job markets remain stronger and stronger and stronger over the last decades. So, for older workers, for older workers you're seeing, you know, who's quitting. The answer is it's people in you know, non-college labor market occupations. That's who's pulling out and who's staying in are better educated people who have you know college labor market jobs that are actually easier jobs to do.
[00:11:22] Mary Churchill: [00:11:22] Right, on the body, definitely.
[00:11:25] Paul Harrington: [00:11:25] Absolutely. You know, you're in a job, you go back to my time and getting a job where there was air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter was pretty cool.
[00:11:36] Mary Churchill: [00:11:36] Yes, definitely. So that actually leads us to choice of field matters. Can you walk us through the data on field? As someone who's in a school of Ed. I'm now really drawn to the education numbers as well.
[00:11:49] Paul Harrington: [00:11:49] So, you know part of what's going on there is how do you get sorted into being mal-employed? That's what you're asking. What factors influence the likelihood that I'm going to be mal-employed? It really seems to be two things are really important. One are literacy and numeracy skills.
[00:12:06] Okay students with lower literacy and numeracy skills are just more likely to be mal-employed. Okay, it's just the skill issue of reading, writing and math really matters a lot and it's a fair number of college grads with poor literacy skills, but we estimate I've been using this data from something called the program for the international assessment of adult competencies to examine the skills composition of the college graduate work force in the U.S. We find that about 18 percent of college graduates have skills below what the OECD thinks are required to be successful in the world literacy skills. For numeracy, about 29 percent of the college grads in this country have deficient skills.
[00:12:51] So and those are the people that are more likely to become mal-employed. Then the second thing you find is and it's related to the first is the major field of study. And within the major field of study, what you find is that students in humanities and social sciences are much more likely to become mal-employed than students in the professions and part of reason.
[00:13:13 I think that occurs, Mary, for two reasons. One is that if you study accounting, you're not only, you're an entering freshman and you I'm going to be an accountant, okay, and I'm going to study accounting. It's a simultaneous decision. Not only is a simultaneous decision but your pathway through college - both curricular and extracurricular - is written pretty strongly. The courses are laid out for you and your junior year, you're going to go out to some local accounting company and do some auditing, right? Whether you go to Northeastern or UMass or whatever business school you go to, that's going to happen for you in most instances, right? Civil engineering, same sort of pathway Finance.
I mean all these kinds of fields all the health fields right, the script is well-written for you. When you're a social sciences or Humanities major, the problem is you have to write that script and so it's a much more - and this is why I think Cooperative education has the potential to be so important for students in that field because the faculty doesn't know anything.
[00:14:11] They don't know what, a political science professor doesn't know what you can do with a political Science degree. The sociology professor says, yeah, go get a PhD and be like me
[00:14:20] Mary Churchill: [00:14:20] and be like maybe a faculty member
[00:14:20] Paul Harrington: [00:14:20] The fact is that you can do lots of good stuff with a sociology degree and a political science degree and an English degree, right? There's lots of opportunity for you, but you have to develop your own curricular and extracurricular game plan to make that work for you and you're going to have to work harder in your transition from college.
[00:14:48] Okay to make that game plan work. And what I think is going on here is that I think that. students aren't quite sure what they should be doing around sort of this career preparation in the social sciences and Humanities fields, right? And education, they do know. I know what the game plan is where I'm going to be a teacher, right? But, they also I think are really struggling around the transition from school.
[00:15:09] We did, we tracked, for a couple of years at Drexel, I had my way with the exit, the senior exit survey. So, I was able to, I got rid of all the questions they were using, and I asked them what they were doing. What activities they were actually taking in senior year to generate an outcome for themselves, you know, either going to graduate school, enlisting in the military or in this instance, it's probably most importantly what you doing around job search, right? Connecting yourself, right? And the thing I found was that social sciences and Humanities students really delayed their job search. And I don't know what it was. There's part of me that I think they just didn't want to deal with the reality of it.
[00:15:45] But I just saw these very large gaps between when these kids started the job search and kids in engineering and business did. Engineering and business kids started very early in their senior year. Many of the humanities and social sciences kids at the exit survey said I'll start in the fall. Well, you're way behind the curve at that point, so it's going to be a much tougher transition.
[00:16:06] This is in a pretty weak labor market. We did this back in 13 14 15 and that time period so, you know, you just I really think that there is a. I really think there's a role for higher education there to step in and really help kids in social sciences and humanities because there's lots of opportunities for these kids you just got to figure out how to take advantage of.
[00:16:26] Mary Churchill: [00:16:26] Yeah and create that infrastructure, right? And it's because, without the infrastructure, it's really dependent on your family connections that you bring or your personality rather than your skill set, right?
[00:16:38] Paul Harrington: [00:16:38] And you've seen savvy kids really do some great stuff, right and every Professor has you know, but the important point is they have to bring that savvy themselves.
[00:16:46] It's nothing sort of structured for these youngsters at most institutions that I can see.
[00:16:50] Mary Churchill: [00:16:50] Yeah and I do think that students are leaving those majors because that structure is not there and they don't see the careers afterwards, right?
[00:17:02] Paul Harrington: [00:17:02] That's a mistake.
[00:17:03] Mary Churchill: [00:17:03] It feels very risky for them to be a Humanities or social sciences major. Yeah, to the detriment of our society, personally.
[00:17:10] Paul Harrington: [00:17:10] Because what students should be thinking about when they're picking a major is first of all, what do I like?
[00:17:16] Mary Churchill: [00:17:16] Yeah. What do I enjoy?
[00:17:17] Paul Harrington: [00:17:17] And second of all what am I good at? What do I think I'm going to be good at and you've got to be able to do both of those things. And if you don't have good answers to those two questions, you're just not going to know what to do, right? And to pick a major because I think there's a good job prospect here is I think a catastrophic start. I think understanding what you like and what you're good at and picking your major and then figuring out how do I make this work for me?
[00:17:42] And okay, I'm going to major in Psychology, but I'm probably not going to be a psychologist. How can I make that work for me? You know, can I get a job in a human resource organization? You know, where can I go? Where do I fit in a non-profit sector? You know, where do I fit in in the banking system?
[00:17:57] Right. I mean there's all sorts of places you can figure this out, but you got to get out in the world and the problem is the institutions generally don't help you do that.
[00:18:05] Mary Churchill: [00:18:05] Right and we started to talk about how important Co-op is with that. And so, could you talk a little more about coop but also really the difference between internship and Co-op because I think if you haven't been at a co-op school, you don't really know what it is and how it's different from internships.
[00:18:21] Paul Harrington: [00:18:21] Yeah. So, the first thing is people refer to internships as jobs and they're not okay. A job occurs in a market where exchange occurs and that exchange says I value your labor and I'm going to pay for that labor and you're going to supply a good quality of labor to me. So, firms are invested in you when you have a job. They're often not invested in people when they have an internship.
[00:18:46] You know, one of the horrible things I could do to a lot of your listeners would be to call them up and say hey, can you take a kid this? Right and then there are sitting around figuring out. Okay. What am I gonna do with this people do that kid versus somebody who calls you up and says hey Mary, I'm looking for a smart kid to do this, right ] And so in an important sense that's the difference between Co-op and internship. Okay, I think the idea that the employer values this the work that's going to be provided by this individual. The second thing that you would hope for in this is that the motive for an employer is to use the work experience primarily as tryout employment. Employers are poor at - one of the worst ways to hire somebody is to look at a resume and interview them, right? It just because it doesn't really predict much, and it turns out that one of among the best predictors of future productivity is tryout employment.
You know that you get somebody in, and you've seen a lot of firms over time, what they do is they'll hire somebody through a temporary help company. As a source of tryout employment, right? A lot of college graduates actually get the job. It's kind of postgraduate Co-op,
[00:19:53] Mary Churchill: [00:19:53] Right. That's how I got my first job. I it was a temp and it turned permanent.
[00:19:58] Paul Harrington: [00:19:58] So you know, it's kind of after college Co-op that yeah, you're paying a fee or something.
[00:20:07] So the upshot of this is, you know, the model is you really want is tryout employment and what we find is that when you look at the nature of gains you get for co-op. The gains are really around that search and fit that really occur in the first two or three years. We just have better employment rates and we've done studies of you know sourcing.
[00:20:23] We went to a bunch of big firms and they gave us all their hiring records what we found was that this was probably the coop work experience is this kind of work experience for college grads is probably the single best way for the firm to make new hires. Because they had a good understanding and it's hugely increased the employment rates of minority kids, you know, because I was no longer hiring a minority kid when I made the permanent hire.
[00:20:56] And then I think the second part of it is the institution has to work really hard at developing a job for the individual kid. They got to say I got Mary Churchill here, this is what her interests, her aptitudes, her abilities are, here's the right place for me to put this kid. I would say that would be the ideal.
[00:21:13] Not sure we always do it but that's but that would be the ideal.
[00:21:17] Mary Churchill: [00:21:17] Well, and it really forces the institution to develop deeper relationships with local employers as well.
[00:21:23] Paul Harrington: [00:21:23] Absolutely, or national employers.
Yeah. Yeah, I mean all over the you know, and to be able to take a political science kid and say well, you know what you're going to do a term in Washington, you know, we're going to put you down in a federal agency, we're going to put you in Congress, you know, you're going to get this experience, you know, and you're going to get paid.
[00:21:40] Mary Churchill: [00:21:40] So moving on to this topic of today's college graduates and back to the issue of mal-employment. Is it still a problem? And how does the growing problem of student debt exacerbate that?
[00:21:55] Paul Harrington: [00:21:55] So yes, it's still a problem. Again, you know for if you look at kids who graduated in 2017 2018. I don't know about the class of 2019, but I'm sure it's pretty close.
[00:22:02] Still about a third a little about 36% Actually of these youngsters are mal-employed. So, it's still quite High. Yeah, it's hard to ratchet that down even as the economy. You know, this is this is this is an economy with very large number of job vacancies very high demand and yet we're still not able to get this thing down to where it would be even you know, reasonable right? And we still got more than a third of kids just making these terrible transitions. so. So, the mal-employment problem is alive with us and large. The second element of this is that it will have a very powerful impact on student debt with respect to loan default. Students that you know, you don't get any of the earnings premium when you become mal-employed.
[00:22:53] So when you look at the size of the earnings advantage between a kid who gets a college labor market job and a high school grad the kid with a college labor market job earns twice what the high school graduates earns. Double. Okay, the kid who's mal-employed earns nothing more than the high school grad So your ability to finance that debt if you're mal-employed is the same as if you hadn't gone to college. So, you haven't gone to college okay, and you don't have the debt versus yeah, I went to college, I have this debt, but I have no proficient, I have no more access to employment that would give me the ability to pay off this debt than if I hadn't gone.
So, it's a train wreck. And this is one of the reasons why you're seeing some legislative proposals now saying we want to make colleges have a stake in in college loans and as kids start defaulting, we want the colleges to be on the hook for a share of that default. Okay, why? To make the colleges make sure these kids get a better transition into college labor market and have jobs. That's what that's about.
[00:24:03] Mary Churchill: [00:24:03] That's depressing. Well, and it just makes me think kind of. You know, there's so much bad press right now about you know, why do you need to go to college and my 14-year-old even is like, I don't know why I need to go to college. I hear in the papers all the time or on the news all the time that you don't need to go to college and they're all these success stories of people who you know are billionaires that didn't finish college or didn't go to college.
[00:24:27] But do you think there's still a strong argument for going to college?
[00:24:33] Paul Harrington: [00:24:33] Oh completely.
[00:24:34] But well, here's the point, is going to college for everyone sensible? If you don't have strong skills - remember college, no matter what college you go to, in most sense, college is what you make of it.
[00:24:52] Anyone that's been a teacher, that's been an educator knows what matters is who's on the other side of that classroom, right?
[00:24:56] My ability to be a good teacher is only partially influenced by my own behavior, right? A lot of it's got to do with on who's on the other side of that table. And so, for many kids, you know, if you don't have strong skills, college is probably a very bad place for you to be.
[00:25:14] Unfortunately. we've had a public policy of saying college for all so we're pumping all of these kids into the post-secondary education system who have almost no chance of graduating. We tracked through kids from the Philadelphia Public School System. We did a longitudinal study over many many years. We tracked these kids through high school, into college and seven years after college , after high school completion trying to find out what their college completion rates were. And remember, Philadelphia public schools are, it's all a prep school system - the whole thing is, everybody goes to college. What we found was out of that cohort of kids who ended up graduating from high school, by the way, a large fraction of those kids didn't graduate. Those who did graduate, only one in five got any kind of degree at all degree or certificate. One in five. So, for you know, the overwhelming share of these kids, they just didn't have the skills. But what we found is that they just didn't have the skills to go to college. Yet we pushed a lot of them in you know, and when you push them in and then they, you know, they accumulate this debt and that they're unable to pay off and then there's another set of kids that we push into college who did get a four-year college degree and they got to be mal-employed.
[00:26:24] And they got to be mal-employed because they didn't have the skills and they went into majors that they couldn't figure out how to do the transition effectively.
[00:26:32] Mary Churchill: [00:26:32] Well, so do you think that for the kids that aren't ready or don't have the skills going to a co-op school going to a co-op college is really a safer bet for parents?
[00:26:43] Paul Harrington: [00:26:43] I think if you have poor reading, writing and math skills, you need to get your reading, writing, and math skills improved. They are the sine qua non for success in the job market and college is not very good at fixing that.
[00:26:55]Mary Churchill: [00:26:55] Literacy and numeracy skills?
[00:26:56] Paul Harrington: [00:26:56] Yeah, I mean, you know college is the way is a place where you -literacy and numeracy skills are the base.
[00:27:03] Mary Churchill: [00:27:03] Right. We assume you have those coming in.
[00:27:03] Paul Harrington: [00:27:03] All right,
[00:27:04] Mary Churchill: [00:27:04] Right, right. I mean because I think sometimes they don't have literacy and numeracy skills because they don't have the
[00:28:18] the drive or the work habits that are required to build those skills, and that's what I've seen, but maybe that's just my world I'm in with the 14-year-old. So, I have one more question before we wrap up and it's around White-Collar apprenticeships and their how you know, there's been a resurgent in this white color apprenticeships literature and also virtual apprenticeships, but this return of apprenticeships. Is there a difference between apprenticeships and coops?
[00:27:48] Paul Harrington: [00:27:48] So apprenticeships, usually, interestingly enough, they kind of get sold as something you do with young people, but that is not who goes into an apprenticeship. Apprenticeships are if you go in the construction trades you went to their apprenticeship training site; the average person would be 28, 30 years old.
[00:28:04] So it's really for older people that go into apprentices. There's a lot of unions are very good at saying we're going to do pre-apprenticeship training and they do and they give the kid a piece of paper saying you're now eligible to be an apprentice but the kids never actually figure out how to become an apprentice, right? That you're trying to see some effort to create apprenticeship in some white-collar jobs but the white-collar jobs where apprenticeships are being created are actually quite low end.
[00:28:30] So to be something like a community health worker, maybe a home health aide. I mean these sorts of kinds of jobs where there's not a formal certification required that would you know, so for example, among the most rapidly expanding fields in the American economy is the health field, right? That when you look at the health fields, they all have very strong practical learning activities in the professions, right? You've got to go to school, but you also have to go out there and do some practicums to actually learn how to be a speech therapist or an X-ray tech or whatever.
[00:29:04] the field is as opposed to being an economist. We just go get some degrees and you say I'm an economist and that's it, right? So, no it is though, right? Right? So, the upshot of this is that is that in the health field which is really very important. So, it's new job creation.
[00:29:28] The only area where you're seeing this is very low end health and jobs like health assistant, personal care attendant. There are going to be tremendous numbers of jobs there, but these are jobs that are going to pay, you know, 12, 13, 14 bucks an hour. Do I expect to see the substitution of apprenticeships for college degrees in the near term?
[00:29:52] I would say that's very unlikely What I think will change things down the road is if firms are allowed to test for reading, writing and math proficiencies. Right now, that’s illegal. But I think it's eroding and when that erosion starts to become more complete and I can directly test for people’s proficiencies.
[00:30:12 I'm not going to need that. Oh, I have a degree from Boston University. So, I know this kid's got strong reading, writing, and math skills, right? Okay. I could test that kid when they’re 19 years old and say, ah, you know really smart kid. Boom, I’m going to hire him, right? I mean, I think that's where the erosion will begin, but I think we're a long way off.
[00:30:34] From apprenticeship or other kinds of ports of entry into professional, technical, managerial high-level sales occupations outside of the college system, right? I would think, you know, and remember, that's about 35 percent of the jobs in American economy, you know, and the earnings premium for them is very high.
[00:30:55] So, you know, if a kid can go to college and make something out of college. Absolutely. They should go. What you need to be careful about is somebody in your high school -this is all high schools are doing this now - is saying oh everybody needs to go to college. That's a bad idea.
[00:31:11] Mary Churchill: [00:31:11] Right, right.
[00:31:13] So do you think there's anything that you want to talk about that we haven't covered yet today? I feel like I've asked you a lot. You've answered a lot. This is all been. I've learned a tremendous amount in such a short time.
[00:31:26] Paul Harrington: [00:31:26] I don't know, probably if I go on anymore, Mary, I would probably even be more confusing
[00:31:30] Mary Churchill: [00:31:30] No, this is all good.
[00:31:32] And I'm thinking about it as a college professor, college administrator, the mother of a fourteen-year-old. Really, I mean the world has changed, the world is changing but we still need jobs and jobs still are pretty traditional, right? I mean, we have lots of change happening, but the jobs haven't changed that much.
[00:31:53] Paul Harrington: [00:31:53] Remember, Mary.
[00:31:53] What do people want out of work? Okay, and basic human values around this are similar around the world. They want employment stability, right? I want a solid anchor job. So that means I want a wage and salary relationship. I don't want to do the gig thing. I don't want to be self-employed.
[00:32:08] Mary Churchill: [00:32:08] Right?
[00:32:09] Right and I want benefits. I want health care benefits.
[00:32:11] Paul Harrington: [00:32:11] That's right. The second thing they want is a fair wage and benefits right? The third thing they want is upward mobility. Yeah, you know and then the fourth thing they want is kind of a pleasant place to work that’s not, you know, nasty. This is true across the world and you sit there and say where do I find that? You find in wage and salary jobs and big firms?
[00:32:31] Mary Churchill: [00:32:31] Right, right that are weathering through all these storms. So, we have this last fun question for you about this Robert Palmer song? So, we heard that you do other audio recordings and in one unnamed venue you are cued by the lead in song Robert Palmer song You're Simply Irresistible?
[00:32:52] Paul Harrington: [00:32:52] That's right. So, there's a you know, the
[00:32:54] Mary Churchill: [00:32:54] So how did that happen?
[00:32:57] Paul Harrington: [00:32:57] It’s a funny story. So. over at Wharton Business School, they have a radio station on Sirius. It's a Wharton radio station. And Peter Cappelli runs this show on kind of labor economics issues. And because I'm up the street.
[00:33:12] I'm a frequent visitor to his show and I've kind of gotten to know the producer and the like and so, I won't get into all the gory details. There's a little bit of a gag, they started playing Simply Irresistible. And now that's sort of my like when a pitcher comes out of the bullpen that's my cue up song.
[00:33:30] So this is sort of my cue up song for the show and he reminds the audience he goes for those regular listeners. You can hear the song. You know who it is
[00:33:38] Mary Churchill: [00:33:38] Paul is on with us today. That's awesome. You know, I am the right age cohort for that. Oh, I heard that. I was like, oh, that's fantastic.
[00:33:46] Paul Harrington: [00:33:46] That's pretty cool.
[00:33:47] Mary Churchill: [00:33:47] You think of the video, right?
[00:33:50] Paul Harrington: [00:33:50] Well, I think how it all got started. I was talking to an organizational development professor while I was over there. And we're talking about videos. I said, the greatest video of all time was Simply Irresistible.
[00:34:01] Mary Churchill: [00:34:01] Yes.
[00:34:03] Paul Harrington: [00:34:03] You can't take your eyes off that thing.
[00:34:06] Mary Churchill: [00:34:06] It was beautiful.
[00:34:08] Paul Harrington: [00:34:08] So that's sort of stuck after that.
[00:34:10] Mary Churchill: [00:34:10] Yeah. Well, thank you so much for joining us, Professor Harrington and next time we'll have the music cued up and ready to go when you enter the scene. Have a great day, and I look forward to talking to you again.
[00:34:22] Paul Harrington: [00:34:22] Perfect. Thank you.
[00:34:23] Mary Churchill: [00:34:23] Thank you. Bye. Okay.
[00:34:25] Paul Harrington: [00:34:25] Okay, see you later, Mary. Bye.
[00:34:26] Mary Churchill: [00:34:26] Thank you for listening. We hope you will come back soon for the next installation of experience Ed
[00:34:34] Adrienne Dooley: [00:34:34] as we continue to talk about the neuroscience and sociology of enhancing higher education
[00:34:39] Jim Stellar: [00:34:39] by combining direct experience with classical academic learning.