Col­lege de­gree equals jobs, new study says

67% of Ohio work­ers lack 4-year bach­e­lor’s de­gree, higher than U.S. na­tional av­er­age.

Dayton Daily News - - FRONT PAGE - By Max Filby Staff Writer

Less than one-third of Ohio work­ers have a bach­e­lor’s de­gree, a prob­lem that state and lo­cal lead

ers are rac­ing to fix as the de­mand for skilled work­ers in­creases.

More well-pay­ing, skilled ser­vices jobs in the U.S. are go­ing to peo­ple with a four-year de­gree, a new study from the Ge­orge­town Univer­sity Cen­ter on Ed­u­ca­tion and the Work­force shows.

Around 67 per­cent of Ohio work­ers lack a bach­e­lor’s de­gree, 6 points higher than the na­tional av­er­age of 61 per­cent, ac­cord­ing to the re­port. Skilled po­si­tions in fields like health care and in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy tend to re­quire more train­ing, putting Ohio’s work­force at a dis­ad­van­tage.

The me­dian earn­ings for an Ohio worker with a bach­e­lor’s de­gree is $55,000. Those with bach­e­lor’s de­gree and a “good job” is $70,000, ac­cord­ing to the study. “It’s im­por­tant be­cause I think

the jobs of the fu­ture are go­ing to de­pend on con­tin­u­ally re-skilling and up-skilling (work­ers),” said Ryan Burgess, di­rec­tor of the gov­er­nor’s of­fice for work­force trans­for­ma­tion.

“When you’re com­pet­ing in a global econ­omy you have to have a top-notch work­force.”

State lead­ers have long feared that Ohio needed to im­prove its work­force de­vel­op­ment.

The of­fice Burgess leads, cre­ated by Gov. John Ka­sich in 2012, was es­tab­lished as a way to try to im­prove and ex­pand sys­tems in place to train work­ers. The of­fice’s goal is to have 65 per­cent of adult Ohioans ob­tain a de­gree, cer­tifi­cate or an­other form of post-sec­ondary train­ing by 2025.

Ohio’s slower-than-av­er­age move to­ward an ed­u­cated work­force is mostly due to its roots in agri­cul­ture and man­u­fac­tur

ing, said Jeff Robin­son, spokesman for the Ohio Depart­ment of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion.

“There were folks who were able to get into good jobs with­out much ed­u­ca­tion,” Robin­son said. “Now that things are shift­ing a bit, we’re see­ing Ohio lag­ging.”

An­other part of the is­sue is just “a mat­ter of reach­ing out to stu­dents and their fam­i­lies, to make them aware of what ed­u­ca­tion op­por­tu­ni­ties are avail-

able, Robin­son said. Col­lege Credit Plus, a state pro­gram that al­lows high school stu­dents to take classes for col­lege credit, is just one ex­am­ple of some­thing that peo­ple may not know about, Robin­son said.

Though the state is lag­ging be­hind the na­tional av­er­age, state lead­ers said they have made in­roads over the last five years. The gov­er­nor’s of­fice of work­force trans­for­ma­tion reg­u­larly sur­veys busi­ness for their em­ploy­ment needs and an ap­pren- tice­ship pro­gram has trained more than 19,000 peo­ple, mak­ing it the sec­ond larg- est pro­gram of its kind in the coun­try.

The work­force de­mands have also been a rea­son for some ex­panded af­ford­abil­ity and ac­ces­si­bil­ity ini­tia- tives at area col­leges.

The Univer­sity of Day­ton, Wright State Univer- sity, Miami Univer­sity and Ohio State, among oth­ers, have dras­ti­cally strength­ened trans­fer agree­ments and im­ple­mented fixed­price tu­ition pro­grams. Sev­eral two-year schools have ex­panded the num­ber of cer- tifi­cates they of­fer and Sin­clair Com­mu­nity Col­lege, along with Clark State Com­mu­nity Col­lege, are both on track to of­fer bach­e­lor’s de­grees cre­ated to specif- ically ad­dress lo­cal work- force needs.

Day­ton Mayor Nan Wha- ley re­cently pro­posed a solution to help peo­ple in need of a de­gree or cer­tifi­cate who can’t af­ford one. Wha­ley, who is run­ning for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion for gov­er­nor of Ohio, wants to of­fer free com­mu­nity col­lege if she’s elected to the top state post.

Wha­ley’s pro­gram would re­quire stu­dents to com­plete the Free Ap­pli­ca­tion for Fed­eral Stu­dent Aid, com­monly re­ferred to as FAFSA. Stu­dents who re­ceive FAFSA dol­lars of­ten need less than $1,000 to fill the gap of what they need to en­roll, ac­cord­ing to Wha­ley’s cam­paign.

“That shouldn’t come out of hard­work­ing Ohioans’ pock­ets,” Wha­ley said. “We should in­vest in them.”

A class is taught in Sin­clair Com­mu­nity Col­lege’s health sciences build­ing. Col­lege Credit Plus is a state

credit. pro­gram that al­lows high school stu­dents to take classes for col­lege

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