New Research Paper: Demand for College-Educated Workers Will Rise by 16 Percent by 2018

June 23, 2011 | Atlanta Journal-Constitution |  Link to article

Here is yet another paper on the impending shortage of college-educated workers, released on Wednesday by the Center for Law and Social Policy and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.

The paper looks at each state's jobs in 2008 and projects what the job needs will be in 2018.

In 2018, Georgia will have 306,000 more jobs requiring postsecondary education than it does now, from 2,523,000 jobs to 2,830,000 jobs.

The paper also lists unemployment rates by level of education in each state. In Georgia, the unemployment rate for someone without a high school degree is 16.9.

With a high school degree, the unemployment rate is 11.7.

The unemployment rate for Georgia workers with college degrees is 5.8. For those with graduate or professional degrees, the unemployment rate is 3.6.

From the release:

The paper, Not Just Kid Stuff Anymore: The Economic Imperative for More Adults to Complete College, finds that over the next decade, there will be no national growth in the number of high school graduates, and some states will see the number of high school graduates decline by as much as 18 to 20 percent. The report includes state-by-state projections of the number of high school graduates through 2020. It finds that the flow of young workers into the workforce is drying up, especially in states in the Midwest and New England such as Ohio, Michigan, North Dakota, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York.

By 2018 the demand for college-educated workers will rise 16 percent, while demand for other workers will stay flat.  At the same time, nearly two-thirds of jobs in 2018 will require some postsecondary education or training. Leading the nation in job openings requiring postsecondary education are Massachusetts, Colorado, Minnesota, Washington state, and the District of Columbia.

"The country's economic competitiveness rests on more people accessing postsecondary education and credentials," said Patrick Kelly, a senior associate at NCHEMS and coauthor of the report. "And with the aging of our population and decline in number of recent high school graduates entering college and the workforce, we need to make sure even more adults and nontraditional students have the skills they need to fill tomorrow's jobs."

"Our public policies have an important role to play by making postsecondary education more accessible for adult and nontraditional students, including by protecting funding for federal aid, especially Pell Grants, and improving policies to expand access and completion for an undergraduate population that looks much different today than 20 years ago," said Vickie Choitz, a senior policy analyst at CLASP.

While research projects adult enrollment in college will grow twice as fast as enrollments by traditional age students, it's important to note nontraditional students already are a significant percent of the college population: 36 percent of undergraduates are age 25 or older, 47 percent are considered "independent" from their parents , 23 percent of undergraduates are parents, and 40 percent are low-income.  The changing student population has different needs from traditional students.

"It is critical that federal student aid be responsive to the needs of adults who often must juggle work, family and school responsibilities and who are on their own financially," the report states.

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