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Report: Education After High School Key to "A Stronger Nation"

Lumina Foundation's goal is for 60% of Americans to have post-high-school educational credentials by 2025. (zimmytws/Adobe Stock)
Lumina Foundation's goal is for 60% of Americans to have post-high-school educational credentials by 2025. (zimmytws/Adobe Stock)
July 9, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. -- New research finds more Americans have credentials beyond high school, but the country could pick up the pace on its education goals.

In Lumina Foundation's latest report, A Stronger Nation, which tracks postsecondary attainment -- including college degrees and other high-quality credentials -- the organization said the United States also needs to close racial gaps in education.

Patrick Crane, director of community colleges and workforce development with the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, said one way Oregon is doing that is by helping folks, especially adults, pick the education path that's right for them.

"These are really intended to connect folks with more hands-on advising and career coaching," Crane said, "while connecting them to certificate programs that get them essential skills that they can use in the workplace."

According to Lumina's research, 51.3% of Americans have a degree, workplace certificate or other high-quality credential.

Oregon is slightly behind that, at 50.5%. The state's goal by 2025 is that at least 40% of residents have a bachelor's degree or above, 40% with a postsecondary credential, and 20% with a high school diploma.

Lumina is working to get 60% of Americans holding credentials beyond high school by 2025. Courtney Brown, Lumina Foundation vice president of strategic impact, noted the U.S. is lagging behind other parts of the world.

"While the U.S. was a longtime leader in postsecondary education," she said, "for those 25-to-34-year-olds with a postsecondary degree or credential, today we fall into 10th [place] -- behind Korea, Canada, Lithuania and the United Kingdom."

Jeff Strohl, director of research at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, said COVID-19 is complicating attainment efforts, but he has no doubt that they will become essential.

"As we have entered into this horrid pandemic recession, certifications are going to become very core to some of our re-skilling and re-employment efforts," Strohl said.


Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.

Eric Tegethoff, Public News Service - OR