Published Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Too many adults in our state lack a college degree

Editorial

Our state has far too few adults with a two-year or four-year college degree, and Gov. Nathan Deal has set a goal of raising the number of Georgians graduating from college or technical school by 250,000 by 2020.

This week at a Complete College Georgia Summit at the University of Georgia, speakers outlined startling numbers showing why our state needs to meet or exceed Deal’s goal.

One of the speakers said 34 percent of Georgia adults have a two-year or four-year college degree. That’s well behind the U.S. average of 42 percent. And the U.S. average is not something to cheer about. The U.S. ranks 12th in the world among nations in terms of the number of college or technical school grads.

The latest U.S. Census Bureau statistics give us another set of numbers that point out the issue locally and in our state. The Census Bureau reports this statistic: Among adults 25 years or older, 26.2 percent in Coweta County have a bachelor’s degree or more (this number does not include those with technical college degrees). For Georgia as a whole, 27.5 percent of adults 25 years older have a bachelor’s degree or higher.

Also looking at Census numbers, the latest estimate shows that 87.2 percent of Coweta adults 25 years and older have a high school diploma. That’s better than the statewide number of 84 percent.

Clearly our community and the state have a high percentage of adults who do not have college degrees at a time when more and more jobs demand such a degree.

Another Athens speaker this week pointed out why it’s so imperative for more Georgians to get college or technical school degrees. The speaker said, in 1973, about 28 percent of people in the workforce had jobs requiring post-secondary training. By 2020, that percentage will increase to 65 percent.

Clearly, too many people in Georgia’s workforce are not educated to meet the demands of the workplace. We need to follow Deal’s lead and create a sense of urgency to get more college graduates in our state.

© 2011 The Newnan Times-Herald Inc., Newnan, Georgia. Any unauthorized use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.