More college grads needed for future work force

In 1973, only 28 percent of U.S. jobs required education past high school. By 2007, it was 59 percent. And it will be 62 percent by 2018, according to a report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

In 1973, only 28 percent of U.S. jobs required education past high school. By 2007, it was 59 percent. And it will be 62 percent by 2018, according to a report by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

The problem is that not enough people are graduating from college to fill those jobs. The report projects a 3 million person shortfall in those with postsecondary degrees by 2018, when we’ll also need 4.7 million more people with postsecondary certificates.

President Obama thinks community colleges are essential to training these future workers. He has earmarked $2 billion in grants to community colleges over the next four years.

Another sign of his administration’s support is a series of regional summits — the first of which, in Philadelphia on Feb. 28, brought together 150 people from 15 states and featured speeches by Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. Keynote speaker Jamie Merisotis, president of the Lumina Foundation for Education, called community colleges the “on-ramp” to the economic mainstream for low-income and adult students.