I don't know if this is a result of our litigious society, but it seems as though companies want proof of an "educated" individual. Many degrees are relatively meaningless, but they do seem to represent that a person can complete a four-year curriculum, that they can demonstrate the motivation necessary to commit to a longer-term goal and complete it.
There are plenty of other ways into the workforce, and there are lots of opportunities to work in technical or vocational trades. I don't endorse an expensive college education, but one that is commensurate with an expected position and salary. I'm a big advocate of state schools and universities over esoteric, out-of-state schools.
The large corporation hiring is done by ignorant HR Departments who do things “as they have always been done” because they are clueless idiots.
Will this change? It will—but not as quickly as it should.
“If you plan on working for a Fortune 500-type company, certainly as a young adult with little experience, you will not be considered for an associate-level position without a degree. I don’t care what kind of experience you have, or how self-taught you think you might be. Without being matriculated, and with a couple years’ worth of schooling under your belt, you will not be able to get an internship with most companies. “
Not true. The large portion of computer programmers do not have degrees. They self teach a language and off they go making $100,000+. I’ve known many of them.