A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lauren and Rob Hudson: Positive messages for youth; exceptionalism through education

Columns for families based on the book “It Can Be Done” @studentsleadusa

In this column series we write about fifteen parts of life which most people find to be favorable, productive common ground. We refer to them as “pillars of exceptionalism.” Many of the pillars can be covered in a single column, but not today’s pillar. Today’s column addresses how education and training can affect our personal future, whereas next week’s column will address the importance of education and training to our country’s future.

Whether we’re in elementary, junior high, high school, college, or otherwise training, we’re working on building for the future. One success in the classroom usually leads to another success. A high performing educated person can earn over $100,000 a year right out of graduate school. An uneducated, untrained person may earn far, far less, or have no job at all.

Education and special training don’t guarantee success, but they’re the strongest predictor of how much money a person will earn. United States Census Bureau data shows people with professional degrees earn on average four times more than people who don’t go to college or receive advanced training. Over a lifetime, this can literally mean millions of dollars.

Education is not just about our first jobs or starting salary. It’s about where we can end up after twenty or thirty years. We can start high and go higher, or we can start low and stay low – or struggle to catch up.

Why does all this education matter in America’s workplaces? In some countries, who you know or your “family name” means the most. In America, with freedom, the amount of money we earn stems primarily from “supply and demand.”

Supply and demand is something we observe in everyday life. Imagine we’re with a group of friends, choosing teams for a neighborhood sports game. The “market” is the group of available players. The best player will be in high “demand.” There will only be a few people considered among the best, making them in low “supply.” Because of the high demand and low supply, the best players in the market will be chosen first.

These playground rules apply to our economic future. If we earn a specialized degree or develop a specialized skill which businesses want, we will be in low supply and high demand. A business will have to pay more to get us to come to work with them. Education is, of course, always about learning, but in the long run, it’s equally about distinguishing ourselves in the job market under the “economic laws” of supply and demand. With supply and demand, coupled with education and training, we can earn part of the life we want.

Yes, it doesn’t seem fair that the education decisions we make when we’re very young (and maybe not at our best or most mature) can affect the rest of our lives, but they do. As Hall of Fame basketball player and civil right activist Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said, “High school dropouts are forfeiting their opportunity to pursue the American Dream.” Even though school seems boring at times, it will be a key to our financial success. If we have difficulties and have struggled, buckling down and trying to catch up can make a big difference.

We will hear people complaining about their circumstances, like bad breaks and injustices, for the rest of our lives. Bad breaks and injustices will occur for everybody, but we cannot allow them to prevent us from doing what needs to be done. We will be responsible for our future. Through education and training, we can make it exceptional for ourselves and our families.

Join us next week when we further explore the common ground of education and training and how it affects the country. Frost Brown Todd LLC Member Rob Hudson is a Past Chair of the Northern Kentucky Chamber and a recipient of its Frontiersman Award. 2018 Independent Author of the Year Lauren Hudson is a Singletary Scholar at the University of Kentucky.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment