Detroit Bankruptcy Highlights Nation's Obsession With Diplomas

If you thought the bankruptcy in Detroit was caused by the disappearance of manufacturing jobs, well, you'd be wrong. Alan Mallach explains how our obsession with college degrees contributed to the downfall of a city.

"Whether the United States will continue to make things is one issue. Whether we will be a country where people without college degrees will be able realistically to aspire to something better than near-minimum wage jobs and near-poverty subsistence is another," writes Mallach. "Nearly 40 percent of the jobs in Detroit are filled by people with college degrees, but only 12 percent of the adults in Detroit have such degrees."

"This creates a devastating chain reaction not only in Detroit, but in many other cities. As more and more of the urban population, by virtue of limited education and specialized skills, are relegated to low-wage service and retail jobs, more and more of them are forced to commute to the suburbs, where those jobs are. With increasing poverty, neighborhood conditions deteriorate, and the lucky few who get well-paying manufacturing jobs as likely as not move to the suburbs."

"Ultimately the challenge, in Detroit as elsewhere, is how to create an economy that can provide the kind of jobs and wages that will allow everyone who wants to work to find a job that can provide him or her with a decent living wage, to afford decent housing and raise a family."

Full Story: Manufacturing May Be Coming Back, But It Won’t Bring Jobs

Comments

Book cover of the Guide to Graduate Planning Programs 4th Edition

Thinking about Grad School?

New! 4th Edition of the Planetizen Guide to Graduate Urban Planning Programs just released.
Starting at $24.95

Prepare for the AICP Exam

Join the thousands of students who have utilized the Planetizen AICP* Exam Preparation Class to prepare for the American Planning Association's AICP* exam.
Starting at $209

Stay thirsty, urbanists

These sturdy water bottles are eco-friendly and perfect for urbanists on the go.
$19.00
poster

A Short History of America

From comic book artist Robert Crumb, poster shows how the built environment has changed throughout the decades.
$14.95