Opinion

May 22, 2013

Here’s to the class of 2013

Graduation season is in full swing this week, with area high school commencement ceremonies continuing through this weekend and the final one at the end of next week.

Graduation is an important achievement for the students and their families. We hope the graduates will soon turn their focus to the next stage of their education.

Because, more than ever, they are going to need it.

For some, graduation is an end to formal education, with life providing all the lessons they’ll need.

For others, this is a stepping stone to furthering their education at college; for still others, the military is the next right step.

For those who decide a high school diploma is enough, they will find, if they haven’t realized it already, that conditions have changed in this area. It’s not as easy to take your diploma and find a job in a carpet mill for a decent wage, as your parents or grandparents may have.

If low-skilled jobs were still plentiful, that might not be so bad. But increasingly, the job market requires more education or training to earn a reasonable wage or even find a job.

The slow economic recovery means high school and college graduates again face a tough job market this year, but the picture is brighter for those with additional education.

Although the rising cost of college has many wondering if the degree is really worth the expense — as many recent studies seek to prove — generally college graduates do have greater earning power.

In our community we are blessed to have an option for those not interested in a four-year degree but who want to further their education or training. Both Dalton State College and Georgia Northwestern Technical College offer one-year and two-year degrees that can help individuals find a path to a viable career or lead to a better-paying job.

We congratulate the members of the high school Class of 2013, and urge each graduate to build on that sheepskin with additional education and training if at all possible. That will mean a brighter future for them and also for our community.

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