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Getting a Degree Crucial for Iowans

High school graduates are going to need some college to succeed in the post-recession economy, according to a new study. (uiowa.edu)
High school graduates are going to need some college to succeed in the post-recession economy, according to a new study. (uiowa.edu)
July 11, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa – A high school diploma isn't enough in the post-recession job market, according to a new study from Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce.

Since the recession ended, of jobs created, 8.4 million have gone to people with at least a bachelor's degree, but only 80,000 went to workers with a high school diploma or less education.

According to Anthony Carnevale, the Center’s director, through the early 1980s, 70 percent of American workers had no more than a high school diploma, and half were high school dropouts.

"We've crossed a line in the United States where, in order to get ahead, you really do need some kind of education or training beyond high school," he states.

But the cost of a college education has skyrocketed in recent years, trapping many people in a sort of economic catch-22.

As Carnevale explains, the only thing more expensive than going to college now is not going to college.

"On average, you'll lose a cool million dollars over your career if you don't have a college degree, but at the same time college is increasingly unaffordable for a larger and larger share of Americans," he stresses.

Currently, close to 91 percent of Iowa students graduate from high school, an increase for the fifth year in a row, according to the Iowa Department of Education.

Carnevale says the good news is that some associate's degrees and even some one-year certificate programs can lead to jobs that pay more than the average college graduate earns.

"We've got to pay a lot more attention to providing more skill after high school for all Americans and providing retraining for people who get left behind," he insists.

The Georgetown study concludes that education beyond high school has become essential to compete in the 21st-century labor market.


Bob Kessler, Public News Service - IA