“After serving time in a Virginia prison following convictions on gun and drug-possession charges, Sean Collins-Harris decided he would fight the odds against his ever returning to white-collar work with the only tool he had: education. Today, Collins-Harris has a master’s degree and works for a property-management company in Virginia Beach. It took a personal crash that landed him inside St. Brides Correctional Center in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he says he buffed floors for 27 cents an hour, for Collins-Harris to understand what so many young American men don’t.
The U.S. workplace is polarizing between the education haves and have-nots, says David Autor, professor of economics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge. So-called middle-skill jobs, typically well-paying work that doesn’t require extensive higher education, are vanishing, dividing the labor force into high- and low-skill positions. While women are moving up the knowledge ladder, male educational attainment is growing at a slower rate.”
By Craig Torres