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Degree Completion Not Keeping Pace with Workforce Needs

Degree completion among working-age American adults is not keeping pace with the needs of the labor market, according to a report released by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

The report, “Recovery 2020,” found that the American economy will create 55 million new jobs by the year 2020. Many of these jobs, according to the report, will be in the STEM industries, the healthcare sector and in community services. However, employability in these industries is dependent on high levels of post-secondary education.

Specifically, the report found that 65 percent of jobs will require higher education and training; 35 percent of job openings will require at least a bachelor’s degree, and another 30 percent will require some college experience or an associate’s degree.

The report also made a dire prediction related to the labor market’s ability to fill these needs. Report authors Anthony Carnevale, Nicole Smith and Jeff Strohl predict that the United States will have at least 5 million positions that Americans will be unable to fill in 2020 as a result of inadequate education.

This notion is supported by the Lumina Foundation, who initially issued the challenge of 60 percent of working age adults earning a post-secondary degree by 2025.

Nationally, the Lumina Foundation has found that only 38 percent of adults across the country are currently in possession of a college or university credential. An astounding 22 percent of adults have some post-secondary experience but have not earned a degree.

Looking to the future, the Lumina Foundation predicts that only 47 percent of American adults will have earned a post-secondary degree by 2020.