Skills Development in Post-Recession Years

Photo by Jorge Lascar

While closing the gap is important for getting more citizens across America employed, is it a worthwhile investment when our economy has been hit hard and jobs more scarce? It turns out that economic strains are making the need for skilled workers even greater. Jamie Merisotis is president of the Lumina Foundation, and will be speaking at our National Meeting in Boston next month. An article he published last month on The Hill demonstrates the importance of educating low-skilled citizens as we ride the tail of the Great Recession. 

According to this article, those with just a high school degree lost 230,000 jobs while those with college degrees gained 187,000 jobs during the slow recovery between January 2010 and February 2012, [2]. The stats are even more telling for recent graduates. While unemployment rates for new four-year college graduates reached a high at 11.1% in July 2011, they have dropped to 6.8% as of May 2012. For those entering the job market right after high school, their unemployment rate peaked at 30% and was still at 24% in May, by comparison. The difference is even more drastic when manifested in underemployment statistics. While only one in seven recent college grads are underemployed, nearly half of all recent high school graduates are mired in underemployment as they seek out solid footing.

This recent Lumina Foundation study, along with a wide scope of literature on the importance of education in workforce development, are in line with and support the concept behind CEOs for Cities’ Talent Dividend. The next step is understanding how we can best leverage education to cater to the needs of employers across the country—and how we can increase the accessibility of this education (but we’ll be covering this topic tomorrow!).

Take a look at the infographic Can a Degree Get You Through the Recession for a visual look at some of the numbers found in a report done by the Georgetown Public Policy Institute.

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