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Report: Almost 3 in 4 future jobs will require some college

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Suzanne Potter

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(California News Service) More than two million jobs will be created in California each year through 2031 - and 72 percent of them will require more than a high school diploma, according to a new report

Researchers at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce project the national economy will generate 18.5 million job openings per year, on average - and about 12.5 million of them will require at least some college education. 

Georgetown Center Chief Economist Nicole Smith co-authored the report.

"There's a growing number of healthcare support jobs, a growing number of sales jobs, food and personal services jobs," said Smith, "and even blue-collar jobs that require more and more postsecondary education and training."

The report predicts the U.S. will have 171 million jobs in 2031, an increase of 16 million net new jobs from 2021. 

Enrollment at California's community colleges dropped 18.5 percent at the start of the pandemic, a 30-year low

It has rebounded 5 percent this school year, mostly among students ages 18 to 20, or over age 30. Enrollment among students in their 20s has dipped 2 percent.

Smith said she's concerned the United States isn't producing enough people with the skills, credentials and degrees needed to meet future workplace demand.

"We're not graduating fast enough," said Smith. "We know that colleges' and universities' enrollment has fallen substantially and it's not just COVID - enrollment was on the decline long before COVID. I would be concerned that the opportunities are going to go unfilled."

Last year, the state launched "California Reconnect," a program that helps people ages 25 to 54 who have some college credits return to school to finish their certificate or degree. 

Participants can get professional coaching and may have unpaid fees forgiven.

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation.