Education and career experience mark the target for success

By Simone Johnson – student reporter.
With the economy at its worst since the Great Depression, students are facing the tough decision to pursue education or experience. Looking at the advantages, and deciding whether or not it is better to get a bachelor’s degree, or to work from the bottom up at a job and simply pay your dues. Some people think that it is more practical to find a job right out of high school, while others think a four-year degree is a recipe for success.
At BCC, there seems to be a consensus that a blend of both education and experience is necessary. Cheryl Vermilyea, an advisor at the Center for Career Connections, says that the key to an outstanding resume is having internship experience. “It shows how to value work environment, makes a good track record, and it can lead to job offers,” said Vermilyea.
She says that even if you don’t have experience in a particular field, make other experience transferrable. It is important to find what is relevant in past experience and make sure that it can be translated into something an employer values in most career situations.
Another aspect of choosing between education and experience is the cost of school. It can often be difficult to make ends meet while worrying about paying tuition. WorkFirst, a welfare program created by Washington state, is a program that helps put people into schools while providing income for bills. It is beneficial for families with low incomes. The program also provides education and worker retraining.
Unfortunately, there has been word of budget cuts in the WorkFirst Program. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer writes that according to Gov. Chris Gregoire’s budget proposal, there will be $152 million from federal money towards Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), which means Washington state will be able to cut spending by an equal amount of money.
These budget cuts mean less money for needy families and an increased demand for education. At BCC, there are students who rely on this program to receive education and get back on their feet, and prepare to build a foundation.
Glenn Jackson, Interim Program Manager at the Career Education Options Program at BCC, believes that this aspect of education is vital. “School says that you have made an investment in yourself. It shows how you can complete tasks, and you can make it in life,” Jackson says. He explained that education is something that can never be taken away, where a job can be lost at any time. With a shaky economy it is one of the few guarantees in life.
On the other hand, there are instances where it is possible to start a job at the bottom and work your way up the ladder. Donald Trump, businessman extraordinaire, tested this idea during a season of “The Apprentice.” Trump was surprised to learn that when a group of Ivy-League professionals were pitted against a successful group of entrepreneurs with no college education, the group without degrees declared victory.
Although, it is easy to argue with the politics and truth of a reality television show, there is a large dispute about education and experience. A candidate with years of experience is sometimes preferred over another candidate with more education. Then again, Jackson says, that someone with a degree is regarded more highly in a pool of applicants.
Jackson, of the Career Education Options Program, did not pursue a college education until later in life and was struck with the hardships of not having a degree. When he was younger, he believed he didn’t need a college education to have a successful career, but he has changed his views since then. Now he says the importance of education is crucial in this world; because nothing is truly certain.