Troy Polamalu graduates from college

On May 13, 2011 Troy Polamalu announced on his website that he had finished his studies at the University of Southern California and that he had just graduated. On his website, Troy Polamalu wrote, "I’m thrilled to announce that on this cool, sunny Friday morning I donned a cap and gown, walked across the stage in the beautiful Alumni Park at University of Southern California, and was handed my diploma. I’m officially a USC graduate! While I feel excited and fulfilled, that’s not really what I want to focus on in this message — I want to talk about the reason behind my decision to go back and finish what I started."

Yahoo! Sports suggested that Polamalu had used the down time caused by the NFL lockout to go back to school and finish the degree he had nearly completed before being drafted into the NFL.

“I have to do something with my mind, or I'll get in trouble.” Vince McMahon, owner of WWE
Over the last several years many millions of people have found themselves in the same position as Troy Polamalu and his teammates: temporarily out of work. If you have time away from full time work consider following Polamalu's example and get more education. Rather than letting the time slip away consider strengthening your employment potential by increasing your education.

There are many reasons why you should invest in education but your income potential is the most important one. Consider this excerpt from an article in The Quarter Roll this year:

While there has been some debate on what the Pittsburgh School District’s high school graduation rate is, several studies put it under 70%. Pennsylvania's average is 78%. That means a full third of Pittsburgh high school kids will enter the workforce at a distinct disadvantage at a time when the economy has been particularly harsh on non-graduates. Level of education does make a difference in someone’s ability to earn higher levels of income and even get hired.

Salary Expectations By Education Level
The average salary someone can expect to earn without a high school education is $21,000.00 per year, compared to a high school graduate who makes 50% more at $31,000.00 per year. Knowing about the potential 50% jump in pay may be an incentive to get many kids to complete their studies and graduate from high school. Education is not the only thing that will allow someone to earn more at work, but it certainly proves to be a major factor.

Unemployment Rate By Education Level
However, when you dig into the average unemployment rate and consider education level you find even worse news for those without a high school diploma. These seasonally adjusted numbers are listed as of August 2011:

Unemployment rate for those with no high school diploma: 13.1%
Unemployment rate for those with a high school diploma: 9.5%
Unemployment rate for those with some college: 8.4%
Unemployment rate for those with a college diploma: 4.4%
Source: July 2012 Bureau of Labor Statistics,
Table A-4

Troy Polamalu's football camp in American Samoa 2011
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