WASHINGTON--()--Strayer University, a leading postsecondary institution, hosted top business and education experts in a panel discussion earlier this week on “Building Tomorrow’s Workforce Today: The Role of Higher Education in a Global Economy” at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C.
“In 1973, 70 percent of working Americans with a high school degree or less were middle class, while in 2010, just 40 percent of working Americans with a high school degree or less were part of the middle class.”
By 2018, well over half of all American job openings – 63 percent – will require postsecondary education, according to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. With an estimated 22 million new workers with postsecondary degrees required six years from now, Center data projections indicate that colleges will fall short of that mark by 3 million graduates.
Thought leaders from the education and business sectors gathered to explore this critical national issue and offer informed perspective around increasing college-to-career readiness for traditional and nontraditional students.
Led by Michael Plater, Ph.D., president of Strayer University, panelists included:
- Robert Bennett, Chief Learning Officer and Vice President of Human Resources, FedEx Express
- Anthony Carnevale, Ph.D., Director and Research Professor, Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce
- Charlene Dukes, Ed.D., President, Prince George’s Community College, and President, Maryland State Board of Education
- Jamie Merisotis, President and CEO, Lumina Foundation
“National experts and employment data substantiate that the continued success and prosperity of our nation is dependent on a college-educated workforce,” said Plater. “With only 30 percent of U.S. adults over the age of 25 now holding a college degree, our nation must prioritize higher education. Educated workers are best positioned to secure high-wage jobs, attract business investment and grow the U.S. economy.”
The Department of Labor reports that of the 50 fastest-growing jobs in America, more than half, 64 percent, require some level of education after high school. A just-released study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce that assessed five years of employment data found that nearly four out of five jobs lost in this recession were held by those with no formal education beyond high school. Most gains during the recovery came in the form of jobs filled by workers with at least some postsecondary education.
Simply put, for Americans who lack a college degree, middle-class status has become far less attainable over the last three decades. In comparative data cited by Carnevale, “In 1973, 70 percent of working Americans with a high school degree or less were middle class, while in 2010, just 40 percent of working Americans with a high school degree or less were part of the middle class.” In a competitive climate, “the quality of our human capital will matter, not just socially, but in economic terms,” Carnevale said. “The difference now is that there is a global labor market and a global economy.” The educational system the U.S. has “is not going to work very well for us. We need a broad, almost visceral reorganization of that.”
Experts believe that academic institutions will need to evolve substantively over the next 10 years to respond to the need to prepare graduates for jobs of the future. According to Merisotis, the higher education landscape will undergo “more change in the next 10 years than we’ve seen in the past 50 years.” Merisotis envisions significant systemic change in which public and private institutions will shift from “time- to learning-based systems” in which “credentials of value become the currency best able to demonstrate knowledge, skills and abilities.”
The panel event celebrated Strayer University’s 120th anniversary and longstanding mission to educate working adults, first-generation college students and others without ready access to higher education. Since 1892, when Dr. S. Irving Strayer opened the first institution in Baltimore, Md., Strayer University has provided individuals with the opportunity to earn a quality higher education that prepares them for the dynamic business world. Today, Strayer University offers innovative, relevant and rigorous academic programs that are tailored for adult learners and that enable them to advance their careers and communities.
For a transcript or video of the event, or to interview the panelists, please contact Cristina Henley at firstname.lastname@example.org or (703) 561-1913.
About Strayer University
Strayer University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and has been in operation since 1892. The University offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, human resource management, education, health services administration, public administration and criminal justice to working adult students at 96 campuses in 23 states and Washington, D.C., as well as worldwide via the Internet. Strayer University also offers an executive MBA online through its Jack Welch Management Institute. For more information, visit www.strayer.edu or call 1-888-4-STRAYER (888-478-7293).