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The Education of American Workers

A Better-educated Nation, Labor Force Participation, Dropouts And High School Graduates, Education And Earnings

Education is an investment in skills, and like all investments, it involves both costs and returns. The cost to the student of finishing high school is quite low. However, the cost to the student of attending college is higher because it includes tuition, books, fees, and the earnings a student gives up either by not working at all during college or by working part-time. It is important to remember that while the returns from a high school or college education can be measured economically, there are invaluable social, emotional, and intellectual returns as well.

While some returns from education accrue for the individual, others benefit society and the nation in general. Returns related to the economy—specifically the labor market—include better job opportunities and jobs that are less sensitive to general economic conditions. Other societal returns often attributed to education include a greater interest and participation in civil affairs.

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Jobs and Career OpportunitiesCareers and Occupations: Looking to the Future