The Lt. Governor’s comments are short-sighted and ignorant. Students, of course, should choose their careers carefully, but telling students to make that choice based solely on the likelihood of getting a job is irresponsible. The future job market is not always predictable. The prospects for engineering students may look good at the moment, but by the time the students graduate things may look very different.
Students also need to consider their commitment to a career that they may not like or may not be suited to their talents. I have had many students who have returned to college because they hated their jobs (many of them engineers). They had returned to college to do what they actually loved, even though it meant they would have to live with a significantly smaller pay check. Money isn’t everything.
And just because it is difficult to get an academic job in history at this moment it doesn’t mean that there are no jobs or that the market won’t change. We still need historians. There are also many non-academic jobs for those with history degrees. History majors are often desirable employees because of their analytic skills and their informed perspective on the world.
More importantly, she should be encouraging all students, not just history majors, to study history. We desperately need an educated population!