A college education won’t necessarily fatten your pockets, but the billionaire mayor of New York City has a suggestion he wants students to consider before they sign any costly tuition checks: what about becoming a plumber?
Yes, that’s career advice courtesy of New York’s Michael Bloomberg: the Big Apple’s media mogul-turned-billionaire mayor who recently led an unsuccessful campaign to ban oversized sugary drinks in his city. Now after making a name for himself as the nanny of Manhattan, Mayor Bloomberg is apparently already considering another career change — this time as guidance counselor.
During his weekly radio show on Friday, Bloomberg shared some words with listeners looking for career advice. It’s no secret that jobs are hard to come by nowadays, and the amount of debt brought on by unpaid college loans now surpasses what Americans owe on their credit cards. Mayor Bloomberg offered his input on the issue during last week’s show, and said students who aren’t destined for the top of the class should consider another option that’s not so costly.
“The people who are going to have the biggest problem are college graduates who aren't rocket scientists, if you will, not at the top of their class," Bloomberg said. "Compare a plumber to going to Harvard College – being a plumber, actually for the average person, probably would be a better deal."
“You don’t spend ... four years spending $40,000, $50,000 in tuition without earning income,” the mayor added.
Later, Bloomberg explained that some vocational jobs — like plumbing — won’t ever been outsourced overseas or replaced by machines.
“It’s hard to farm that out ... and it’s hard to automate that,” he said.
One day later, the mayor had similar words for the graduating class of Ohio’s Kenyon College. According to Fox News, Bloomberg told graduates on Saturday that “I know that today’s job market is not easy,” and acknowledged, “...today, if I interview a recent college grad who tells me he or she spent the summer curing cancer, bringing peace to the Middle East, and writing the Great American Novel – I’m impressed.
Again, however, the mayor said dreams of being successful shouldn’t be dashed just because college isn’t in the cards. “I’m more likely to hire the person who spent his or her summer working days, nights, and weekends for an auto-body shop or a construction company in order to pay tuition or help with family bills,” Bloomberg told the crowd.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median pay for a manual worker like a plumber in 2010 was roughly $47,000, a good $15,000 a year annually more than other occupational workers pull in. And as MSN pointed out, recent college grads aren’t guaranteed much more than hefty student loans: for 2011 graduates, the average debt went up 5.3 percent from the year before. Bloomberg, on the other hand, was estimated to be worth $27 billion as of this year.