A bachelor’s degree certifies a set of life skills you don’t really need college for.
When customers visit an Enterprise Rent-a-Car establishment for the first time, they are often pleasantly surprised to be waited on by a staff of young managers, typically in their 20s, well dressed, polite, and efficient. The situation is much in contrast to many operations that employ middle-aged managers and hire young people to work their way up doing routine tasks. At Enterprise, the youngsters actually run the show, and they do it very well. And it is not an accident. Enterprise adopted a policy several years ago of hiring young college graduates to staff their local rental agencies. It is a policy that is paying off both for the company and for the young employees, who quickly learn the ins and outs of managing an office.
Enterprise offers more entry-level jobs for college graduates than almost any other employer in the United States. Last year they hired 8,500 for their management-training program, 40 percent more than the next highest employer. But according to a recent cover story in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Enterprise does not concern itself with questions such as where its trainees went to college, what they majored in, or even how well they did when they were there. “We recognize that great talent can come from all types of institutions, all types of majors and backgrounds,” Marie Artim, Enterprise’s vice president for talent acquisition, explained.
As the Chronicle notes, “to the company, a college degree matters mostly because it suggests that a candidate has acquired the right mix of skills to succeed in an entry-level job — and to move up the ladder from there.” Instead, the company simply takes a bachelor’s degree to signify that applicants can engage in some degree of critical thinking, problem solving, and juggling different responsibilities at the same time.
James Piereson is a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute.
Naomi Schaefer Riley is a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and a senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum.
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