Despite more college grads, U.S. workforce needs even more.
The number of adult Americans who have earned college degrees has been increasing, but not fast enough to keep up with workforce demands, according to a report released Monday.
At the current rate, employers in 2025 will need about 23 million more degree-holders than the nation's colleges and universities will have produced.
"We are nowhere near at the pace that we need to be says," Jamie Merisotis, president of the non-profit Lumina Foundation, which released the report. "Look at it as an alarm, an urgent call to action."
The foundation wants to increase the percentage of working-age Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60% in 2025 — a goal similar to one set by President Obama in 2009. Obama said he wants the United States to reclaim its position as the world leader in the proportion of college graduates by 2020. If the current pace continues, that figure will reach just 46.5% by 2025, the Lumina report says.
The Lumina Foundation report released Monday, based on 2010 Census data, found a positive overall trend: 38.3% of Americans ages 25 to 64 had at least an associate's degree in 2010, up from 38.1% in 2009 and 37.9% in 2008.
Last month, the Census Bureau noted a historic high in the number of adults with at least a bachelor's degree. That figure, 30%, represented an "important milestone," said Kurt Bauman, the chair of the Census Bureau's education branch.
Yet Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development data show that the USA has slipped, to 16th, in the share of adults ages 25 to 34 holding college degrees. South Korea, Canada and Japan are the top three.
The Lumina report's analysis of attainment rates for the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, where about two-thirds of all Americans live, also reveals differences by region. Completion rates are among the lowest for working-age adults in fast-growing metropolitan areas in the South and West.
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