The Intersection

Economic Outcomes Depend on Educational Achievement

January 21, 2015

“Too often we neglect a key ingredient of our nation’s economic future – the human capital produced by our K-12 school system. An improved education system would lead to a dramatically different future for the U.S., because educational outcomes strongly affect economic growth and the distribution of income.” ~ George P. Shultz and Eric A. Hanushek, The Wall Street Journal, 2012.

The health and productivity of North Carolina’s economy depends on the health and productivity of North Carolina’s education system. Students in class today will enter the workplace tomorrow – a workplace that increasingly requires the critical-thinking and adaptability that postsecondary education can, and must, provide.

In 1973, only 28 percent of jobs required postsecondary education. According to recent projections, by 2020, 65 percent of all jobs will require postsecondary education and training. A traditional four-year college degree – while providing an excellent return-on-investment – is by no means the only path that leads to better job prospects. Nearly half of the American jobs that pay middle-class wages require something less than a bachelor’s degree. Associate degrees, certifications, certificates, apprenticeships, and employer-based training all improve employment and earning prospects. America and North Carolina are becoming an education economy.


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