You’ve been struggling to make it through finals, ready to finally put on that cap and gown.
Commencement ceremonies are in full bloom now, as graduates begin their step from one life to another. But what awaits this fresh-faced crop, this first graduating class of the new millennium? Are they just another graduating class, or is it providence that places the Class of 2000 in an economy that has soared to dizzying heights?
Their ongoing education has mirrored the unparalleled success of both the Nasdaq and the Dow Jones stock markets. Their schooling also has benefited from employers’ cries for a more qualified work force. To that end, schools are in the early stages of a renaissance, embracing the support of educators, government, business, and most importantly, students who realize their education plays a huge role in their future successes.
They indeed seem to have the best of many worlds as they permanently ditch their classroom for a glass-and-steel office building, or join a construction crew, or perhaps open their own company. Employers continue begging for a well-educated, well-prepared work force. Many graduates , from trade school to grad school , have the luxury of choosing from several lucrative offers that often go beyond mere financial compensation.
San Diego in particular continues to lure well-heeled firms to its borders, the most recent being Intel’s Wireless Local Area Network Operation center in Rancho Bernardo. The move by the chipmaker giant is attributed to the area’s wealth of engineering talent.
In fact, the Class of 2000 could very well be the symbol of our new industrial age. They have had as direct an impact as anyone in nurturing the Internet through its infancy into a virtual industrial force. They will no doubt play an increasingly important role in its growth as the grads move from primarily being users to the ones creating and driving the industry itself.
As rosy as the future appears to be, opportunities are seldom handed out on silver platters. Once the tassel has been turned and the cake has been cut, it’s time to face the harsh reality of finding work. In that regard, the Class of 2000 bears a striking resemblance to every class that’s come before it.
After months of near record-low joblessness figures over the last 18 months, employment totals took a big hit last month, making its largest drop in eight years. The wage increases of the past year or so also have cooled.
Affordable housing is very seldom affordable anymore. Housing prices are still climbing as the availability continues to dwindle.
Since most grads are unlikely to be homeowners, they will join that growing list of renters, who are also taking hits countywide. The average rent in Carlsbad is $1,001 with a vacancy rate of 1.1 percent. It’s not much better inland either, as Rancho Bernardo’s average rent is $1,177, where there is a 3.2 percent vacancy rate. Countywide, rent for a two-bedroom apartment jumped 12.7 percent to $841 a month with a skimpy 2 percent vacancy rate.
Interest rates continue to climb, and the cost of competent health care takes a substantial bite out of most paychecks.
In short, as the rest of us well know, it’s a jungle out there. But then, nobody said this was going to be easy, did they?
Yet, the Class of 2000 seemingly knows little about failure. They have perhaps the brightest of futures ahead of them and the technological know-how to wipe away some of the world’s most troubling ills.
We heartily congratulate your graduation, Class of 2000. The business world now welcomes you to our community.
, Rick Bell