The US workforce

Millennials, 1/3 of the US workforce, face student loans and a changing job landscape. In these clips, the expert panel seeks to understand how the future of the American workforce could affect you.

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FEMALE: So you mentioned getting a degree seems like totally necessary, but, at the same time, is a bit like playing the lottery, also seems like a guarantee to kind of accumulate all this debt, so what do you think about this risk of taking on all this debt versus entering the workforce right away?

MALE PANELIST: I think that, if your ambitions are to have a reasonably comfortable middle class life, I do think a B.A. is a prerequisite.  You're not going to get there without it.  I think there are ways of improving your odds, so paying attention to the cost of the education versus the career path you're choosing.  If you want to be an artist or be a freelance graphic designer or something like that, you might want to take on less debt.  You might want to stretch it out over a few more years.  If you want to be a mathematician or an engineer or something like that where you can pretty quickly learn what the earning power is, then you can feel comfortable taking more debt.  I think the key though is to think of this, and I hate to say this, I didn't have to do this when I was 18, but to think of it as a bit like a business investment.  I still think it's really important to be curious and learn new things and take classes just because they sound fun but thinking a little bit like it is what it is, a major investment in your life.
FEMALE: So you mentioned getting a degree seems like totally necessary, but, at the same time, is a bit like playing the lottery, also seems like a guarantee to kind of accumulate all this debt, so what do you think about this risk of taking on all this debt versus entering the workforce right away?

MALE PANELIST: I think that, if your ambitions are to have a reasonably comfortable middle class life, I do think a B.A. is a prerequisite.  You're not going to get there without it.  I think there are ways of improving your odds, so paying attention to the cost of the education versus the career path you're choosing.  If you want to be an artist or be a freelance graphic designer or something like that, you might want to take on less debt.  You might want to stretch it out over a few more years.  If you want to be a mathematician or an engineer or something like that where you can pretty quickly learn what the earning power is, then you can feel comfortable taking more debt.  I think the key though is to think of this, and I hate to say this, I didn't have to do this when I was 18, but to think of it as a bit like a business investment.  I still think it's really important to be curious and learn new things and take classes just because they sound fun but thinking a little bit like it is what it is, a major investment in your life.