Come what May!
It’s been said that May is the new December when it comes to events and holidays and celebrations. With Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, and Cinco De Mayo, not to mention all the end-of-year events like prom and dance recitals, it’s no wonder if you land on the doorstep of summer with your head spinning.
And there’s one more May-to-June celebration. And that’s graduation.
Today’s high school and college graduates have worked for their diplomas in a world turned upside down through the pandemic. They navigated moving to the online classroom space in the spring of 2020, watched homecoming dances and sporting events get canceled, rescheduled, and then canceled again. They tackled new learning modalities, studied during times of global stress, and will be walking through commencement ceremonies with a wildly different set of skills and experience than those who came before them.
And it all impacts their expectations, both those graduates who are moving onto college, and those who are completing their college degrees and heading into their careers.
- Fewer high school graduates are heading to college. College enrollment for high school graduates has dropped by over 5% in 2022. As it turns out, all the stressors and changes high school students experienced during their high school years of the pandemic have left many of them feeling less than excited to head into the stress of college. In a recent Washington Post article, high school senior BreeAnn Stinemen says that she’s taking a gap year, now that she’s finished her high school diploma through all the challenges of the pandemic. She says in the article, “I need a break, you know? I definitely need a break. I just want to work. That’s all I want to do.”
- While there are concerns about dropping college graduate numbers, companies are changing their hiring approaches. For today’s high school graduates and for those who are getting their college degrees, the job market looks different than it did before the pandemic. The New York Times has reported that there is now a higher demand for a skilled workforce, and that doesn’t always mean traditional academic expectations.
- University graduates should be prepared for the gig economy, not just business as usual. Even prior to the pandemic, life after college was changing. More and more companies were hiring freelancers, and more graduates were looking to build their own portfolio of work and clients, rather than enter a traditional corporate job. And the pandemic has only accelerated the gig economy. The gig economy is when the labor market is made up of contract work and short-term contracts instead of the market being dominated by long-term, ‘permanent’ jobs. It’s estimated that almost 40% of the U.S. workforce is part of the gig economy today and that number is expected to grow to 52% by 2023.
Practically, what do these trends mean for today’s graduates? At the very least, in what is becoming a majority for graduates, the typical transition from high school or college to corporate life has changed. This can mean greater freedom and work-life balance for those who enter the gig economy, but it can also mean that traditional means of having access to things like insurance and other work-related benefits are changing as well.
Innovative approaches to healthcare, like Altrua HealthShare, are making the road to the gig economy even better. Altrua HealthShare is a health care sharing ministry, known as an HCSM. Like-minded, health-conscious individuals agree to a statement of standards to become part of the Membership, and eligible medical needs are shared in from the member escrow, which comes from monthly Member contributions. Altrua HealthShare has been sharing in eligible medical needs for over 25 years and continues to help people find flexible, affordable options for their healthcare needs.
John Capezzuti, COO of Altrua HealthShare, has seen explosive growth in the HCSM sector, as more entrepreneurs, freelancers, and recent graduates set out to build a career in the gig economy. “We strive every day to cultivate new innovative options for our members,” he says, “which allows them to receive the highest level of care at the lowest price point possible.”
As we say congratulations to the Class of 2022, and as that class looks at all of its options for moving forward into careers and life, an HCSM like Altrua HealthShare could be the right fit for someone entering the gig economy. And if you’re already a Member of Altrua HealthShare, we’d love to hear from you about how being part of the Membership has allowed you to pursue your entrepreneurial and business goals. It’s all part of caring for one another.
Julie Lyles Carr is a best-selling author, podcaster, and entrepreneur living in Austin, Texas, with her husband Mike Carr. They have eight kids, two unfriendly cats, and an antique dachshund.