April 2, 2020

66% of Utah jobs require some postsecondary education by 2018

Utah has a big goal, maybe even be a humongous goal, if the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Higher Education William Sederburg have their way. They are proposing that 66 percent of Utahns – men and women ages 26 to 64 – have a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020. More specifically, to have 55 percent of Utah’s workforce have an associate’s degree or higher and 11 percent with a postsecondary certificate that leads to a livable wage.

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Utah has a big goal, maybe even be a humongous goal, if the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Higher Education William Sederburg have their way. They are proposing that 66 percent of Utahns – men and women ages 26 to 64 – have a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2020. More specifically, to have 55 percent of Utah’s workforce have an associate’s degree or higher and 11 percent with a postsecondary certificate that leads to a livable wage.
In an inaugural document is the 2010 Report of the “HigherEdUtah 2020” strategic plan. In subsequent annual reports, the document will account for changes in recommended strategies as technology and teaching pedagogies continue to advance and improve to better shape the learning process and outcomes.
“Utah’s prosperity depends upon its citizens meeting these demands by attaining the level of education they desire that is also commensurate with workforce opportunities,” as reported in the document.
An analysis of Utah’s economic outlook revealed two megatrends at the intersection of education and economics.
Utah has lost the advantage of being among the most highly-educated states in the country. The United States has fallen from being first in the world for educational attainment to 10th, while almost all other developed nations are increasing their attainment rates.
According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 66 percent of all jobs in Utah by 2018 will require postsecondary education. Those without postsecondary education will fall out of the middle class; no longer can a high school degree produce a comfortable living.
“Currently only 39 percent of Utahns hold an associate’s degree or higher. This will not be sufficient for Utah to develop a robust economy in a global marketplace, nor for Utah’s citizens to prosper individually or collectively. As there is a direct correlation between education of a population and its economic prosperity, the long term well-being of a state and its people are at risk if deliberate actions are not taken,” as reported in the document.
Also, according to the report, the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) institutions, along with other Utah public and private partners in higher education, will need to enroll approximately 109,000 more students. Of these, about 33,000 are expected growth over this period. This means Utah will need to enroll an additional 76,000 students beyond the current enrollment and projected natural growth by 2020.
The capacity to handle all these students must increase to accommodate 49,000 more students, given traditional growth of resources and no additional budget cuts. Achievement of this goal can be made through improving the management of the student pipeline (training additional faculty and staff to teach and support more students); increase use of facilities to accommodate more evening, weekend, and online programs; expand technological capabilities and physical facilities.
The Georgetown University report projects that by 2018, Utah will have 172,000 jobs in managerial and professional office occupations (82 percent will require postsecondary degree or certificate); 101,000 jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics occupation (91 percent require postsecondary degree or certificate); 112,000 jobs in healthcare, both practitioners and support (85 percent require postsecondary degree or certificate); 99,000 jobs in education (93 percent require postsecondary degree or certificate). A total of one million jobs in Utah will require some level of college education, with 202,000 of those new jobs.

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