As we close in on the end of the year, Agency of Education is thinking about where our graduating seniors will go next. Will they pursue some type of postsecondary education? Will they enter the workforce? Do they have the skills they need to secure a job that pays a living wage and enables them to thrive in their communities?
Increasingly, we know that to earn a livable wage and contribute to the economic growth of the state, our children need to get some kind of postsecondary experience, whether it leads to an industry-recognized credential in a trade or a college degree.
In the table below, for example, the fastest growth in employment opportunity is associated with the highest median salary and the highest level of education. Moreover, while there are many jobs for students with less education, they do not pay enough to support a family.
At the state level, our employers are telling us that they cannot find enough graduates with high enough levels of skill to fill the jobs they have. As a result, some of these businesses are unable to grow and drive prosperity for our Vermont economy.
This is not just a state phenomenon; nationally, we know that higher levels of education are associated with greater access to jobs, good salaries and creation of wealth. If we want to give our kids a fair chance at a prosperous future, we must push them to consider career and postsecondary opportunities beyond high school.