From The Wall Street Journal, April 26, "Education Slowdown Threatens U.S.":
Throughout American history, almost every generation has had substantially more education than that of its parents.
That is no longer true....
This development already has broad ramifications across the U.S. job market: Those with only a high-school diploma had an 8% unemployment rate in March, roughly double that of college graduates, who had a 4.2% unemployment rate. Workers with bachelor's degrees earn 45% more in wages on average than those of demographically similar high-school graduates. And in today's highly automated factories, many manufacturers demand the equivalent of a community-college degree, even for entry level workers.
U.S. News, April 22, "Report: Community College Attendance Up, But Graduation Rates Remain Low":
[Despite an] increased focus on excellence, community colleges are still struggling to graduate students. According to the report, Reclaiming the American Dream: Community Colleges and the Nation's Future, less than half of students who enter a community college graduate or transfer to a four-year college within six years.
Still, the number of students enrolled in America's 1,200 community colleges has skyrocketed. In 2000, about 5.5 million degree-seeking students attended two-year colleges. In the 2010-2011 school year, that number jumped to more than 8 million.
The term "graduate" also includes students who earn certificates in usually more technical fields -- a group that will become increasingly important in the decades ahead. Certificate programs can be more flexible, matched with the needs of industry or the local economy.
See also Wall Street Journal, April 25, "Academics Launch New Efforts to Retain Community-College Students," and April 21, "Report Slams Community Colleges."
To end on an up note, an announcement from The Aspen Institute, "Aspen Institute Names 120 Top U.S. Community Colleges Eligible for 2013 Aspen Prize For Community College Excellence:"
Washington, DC, April 23, 2012 –Highlighting the critical importance of improving student success in America’s community colleges, the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today named 120 top community colleges, challenging them to compete for the $1 million fund for the 2013 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. The Aspen Institute identified the 120 community colleges -- 10 percent of all institutions -- using a quantitative formula that assesses performance and improvement in four areas: graduation rates, degrees awarded, student retention rates, and equity in student outcomes. These colleges will now compete for the prestigious honor following a year-long research process into how well their students learn, complete degrees, and get jobs with competitive wages after graduating. A full list of the 120 community colleges is available at www.AspenPrize.org.
The competition is being judged by former Secretary of Education and Governor of South Carolina, Richard Riley, and Business Roundtable President John Engler. In the release, Engler said: " "American employers have jobs open right now but lack enough skilled, educated workers to fill them. The job training programs at community colleges must play a central role in filling those gaps and preparing the American workforce. Community colleges' success will help determine whether and in what sectors America will continue to lead in the global economy."
Topics: Continuing Education.
Motion to proceed to consideration of S. 744, #immigration bill, passes Senate by 84-15. Getting right into amendments.
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