Study: College grads twice as likely to have good jobs

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Published Monday, May 23, 2022
by Eric Galatas

(Colorado News Connection) By age 35, workers with a bachelor's degree or higher are about twice as likely as workers with just a high school diploma to have a good job - one that pays at least $35,000 a year - according to new research by Georgetown University

Angie Paccione is the executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. She said the report confirms the value of getting some form of education after high school.

"Higher education, or post-secondary education, is the antidote, if you will, to unemployment," said Paccione. "We saw that during the pandemic, that those who had a bachelor's degree or higher were least likely to lose their jobs."

The cost of attending college remains the biggest barrier for most students, disproportionately impacting students of color. 

As postsecondary education has become essential for landing a good job, college tuition and living expenses have never been greater. Since 1980, the cost of attending a four-year institution has nearly tripled. 

Paccione encourages Coloradans to learn about resources available for students at 'ReadyToRiseCO.org.'

Researchers found that work-based learning can help students enter the workforce with good-paying jobs, but fewer than one in three young adults have completed work-based programs. 

Paccione said people can make good wages through certificate programs that open the door for jobs as electricians, welders, mechanics and other trades.

"If you get a good union job, a trade job," said Paccione, "where you have your apprenticeship, and journeyman, and you do your time, so to speak - you get paid very well too."

The Colorado Legislature recently allocated $220 million for scholarships to help lower the barrier for entry to college. 

Paccione pointed to one effort in Adams County, which invests its marijuana revenues to tap matching funds from the Colorado Opportunity Scholarship Initiative - resulting in $1 million for scholarships each year.

"And this scholarship goes to first-generation students, low-income students and students of color," said Paccione. "And so to see those students actually have a shot, that changes the trajectory of the whole family."

Support for this reporting was provided by Lumina Foundation. 

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