The state faces a shortage of roughly 1.1 million college-educated workers by 2030, according to a report released Monday by the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California.

While 38 percent of all jobs in California will require a bachelor’s degree or higher in the next 15 years, only about 33 percent of workers are projected to have attained that amount of education, according to the report, titled “Will California Run Out of College Graduates?”

“The technical skills required are increasing,” said Hans Johnson, PPIC senior fellow and a report co-author. “You could point out almost any occupation and see how automation has changed. There are very few occupations in California where we do not see an increase in technical skills needed.”

While the state should see continued declines in the number of high school dropouts, coupled with gains in college graduates, they won’t fill the deepening crater as baby boomers continue to retire, according to the San Francisco-based PPIC.

“By 2030, the entire baby boom generation will have reached retirement age,” Johnson said. “Baby boomers are well-educated, so here we do see a big shift; so as they start to leave the labor force in full numbers, that creates more of a gap.”

The PPIC looked at the effect of the Great Recession and the nascent recovery, while also surveying labor force projections from the state’s Employment Development Department.

The report says California must increase college access, improve completion rates and time to degree, and expand transfers to four-year colleges.

That’s not news to leaders in higher education.

As part of CSU’s graduation initiative, the university raised the systemwide freshman six-year graduation rate by 8 percentage points, from 46 percent to about 54 percent, from 2009 to 2015. CSU aims to produce 100,000 more degrees by 2025 than it otherwise would have, by increasing the six-year graduation rate to 60 percent. In all, the 23-campus system projects to graduate 1 million more students by 2025.

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Written by Josh Dulaney, Long Beach Press Telegram

 

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