Commencement Speech at the Graduation Ceremony

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We are currently faced with a myriad of problems some of which include an economic slowdown, high unemployment rates, income inequality and soaring costs of living among others which make the transition from college into the job market or the communities you live in just a little bit more challenging. I hope after this, you will not only be academically prepared but more importantly psychologically prepared when you get into the job market. The United States is currently experiencing its highest unemployment rates at 8.6% since November 1982 when it was 10.8 % due to an extra ordinarily feeble job creation in the US with 108.544 million payroll jobs (excluding Government jobs) by September, 2010 almost exactly the same as we had in 1999 while the population grew from 282 million in 2000 to 308 million in 2010 meaning in theory that no new jobs were created by the private sector as illustrated in the graph I below. the stock market performance has been uninspiring in the same period too as shown in graph II of the Samp.P 500. Household investing fell in terms of bonds or stocks owned by the population fell from 57% to 48% in 2008 while incomes remaining on a plateau amidst a rising cost of vital commodities (education, health and energy) GRAPH I: US Jobs GRAPH II_ Samp.P 500 10 year performance The economy is equally just getting out of the doldrums following Government bailouts in 2009 and a 50 year data on incomes for all races shows a general drop in household incomes. These figures illustrate a shrinking economy with very little new jobs created and a soaring cost of living. Not since the 1920s has the gap between the rich and poor been so wide and evident, with its attendant social problems. In 2011, unemployment in the USA has dropped slightly to 8.9% from a high of a high of 9.6 in 2010 (Gross). Graduate unemployment has surpassed the 4% mark for the first time as shown in the employment trends in graph III below. though a four year degree is an asset in getting a job, the rate of those with four year degrees who are currently unemployed is very high, over 4%, this against a backdrop of increasing tuition fees averaging USD 50 000 a year for a private student. The situation can be so dire and as an example a recent college graduate of New York’s Monroe College is suing her alma mater for USD 72 000 because she cannot find a job! (My budget 360) GRAPH III The Harvard Magazine of August 2008 says that the top 1 percent of the US population takes 20 % of the total national income, compared to 18 % in 1908 showing a widening gap between the rich and poor. This means the gap for opportunities between those who come from better off families and the rest of us are also rising. The college degree is diminishing in its power as a guarantee for employment and social security in the US. The education system in the US gives all regardless of background almost an equal opportunity for higher education in well paying jobs such as medicine, which is a good thing. In counties like the UK, only seven percent of students are educated in private schools, however three quarters of graduate doctors are privately educated, one in three of politicians are privately educated, a half of all senior civil servants are privately educated and two in three of members of the house of lords are privately educated and this trend is getting worse. The rest of the students who went through the public education system have