The number of job openings in the United States now surpasses the number of people available and qualified to fill them. Through the Strada-Gallup Education Survey, we talk to Americans about their desire for more education and skills training and explore what motivates them to return to school.
46 percent of Americans believe they need additional education to advance in their careers.
Younger, non-white, and urban residents feel a greater need than their peers.
A majority (53 percent) of adults without degrees say they are likely or very likely to pursue more education in the next five years.
Adults without degrees are more likely to seek education and training from employers than from traditional education institutions.
Adults without degrees are more likely to say a guaranteed employment outcome would be the greatest motivator.
Adults with some college but no degree are no more likely than others without degrees to return to school.
“If they are going to meet people where they are, education solutions must embrace employers and work-centered pathways.”
Policymakers, employers and higher education leaders all champion the power of education to improve economic health and well-being. The workforce demand for skilled employees is greater than ever—with longstanding forecasts that 65% of job openings would require postsecondary education by 2020. And the 7 million job openings in the country now outstrip the number of unemployed Americans, in part because of a mismatch between the demands of available jobs and the skills in the pool of talent. More than half of employers say that job candidates’ lack of requisite skills is harming their companies’ productivity.
To address this skills gap, enormous resources are focused on engaging individuals to complete meaningful credentials and develop skills that will increase their value in the job market and fuel local and state economies. A dozen states have started free community college initiatives to encourage more residents to enroll, and another dozen are considering a similar move. Many of the initiatives are focused on recent high school graduates, but a significant number of states are looking to expand them to working adults. Tennessee, a leader in the free community college movement, has already done so. In an ambitious effort to reach more of the adult population, California is creating an entirely new online community college, which will offer competency-based and other programs that maximize flexibility for students. Still other states, such as Kentucky and Maryland, have focused on getting “near-completers”— residents with a significant number of college credits but no degree—back into college and to graduation.
But despite such significant effort at both the state and federal level to get more Americans to start and complete postsecondary credentials, too many policymakers and practitioners have paid too little attention to what actually motivates individuals to pursue additional education.
This Strada-Gallup Education Survey report focuses on the perceived need for additional education among Americans of all backgrounds, as well as how likely they are to pursue additional education and training and what would motivate them to do so. Perhaps not surprising, career outcomes lie at the heart of their decision-making.
When it comes to education after high school, Americans know what they value and why. At Strada Education Network, we are listening to what they have to say and leveraging their insights about experiences and outcomes to forge more purposeful pathways between education and careers.
Gallup strategically partners with institutions to conduct custom research and implement best practices that create environments in which students and employees thrive.
Higher education’s measurement of student success is in the midst of an evolution. For nearly five decades, success efforts focused on access, then two decades with completion as the horizon for success, and now the focus is extending to student outcomes beyond completion.
Applied connections between education and work are increasingly a part of undergraduate education in the United States.
Two centuries after the first historically Black colleges and universities were founded, the 101 accredited HBCUs in operation today continue to deliver on their legacy of expanding educational opportunity for Black students that leads to successful and fulfilling lives.
As a field, higher education has experienced a continuing evolution in how to measure success. For nearly five decades success efforts were focused on access, followed by the past decade and a half pursuing completion, and the field now has a growing focus on the value of a degree and student outcomes beyond completion.
Strada’s prior research on undergraduate perceptions of the value of their education demonstrates that students value their education most when they receive support to connect their education and career interests.
In the wake of historic pandemic-related enrollment declines, postsecondary institutions have responded by developing and expanding innovative approaches to engaging learners.
The baccalaureate degree remains the surest path to economic mobility, employment stability, and a host of associated social benefits.
Steep declines in undergraduate enrollment during 2020 and 2021 threaten to widen existing equity gaps in college completion and career opportunities.
Nondegree credentials have been growing rapidly for decades. During the COVID-19 economic crisis, interest in nondegree credentials and skills training options was especially high. Questions about their quality and value, however, remain.
The high school classes of 2020 and 2021 have endured massive disruption to their education.
The pandemic has led to a national crisis of widespread disruption to both work and education for millions of adults in the U.S., especially those from historically marginalized groups.
From its onset in early 2020, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has upended life across the world, leading to uncertainty around health, work, finances, education, and a host of other issues.
Over the past 15 years, the number of student loan recipients has increased by 51 percent and the debt associated with those loans has more than doubled.
We asked alumni nationwide who had borrowed money to go to school if their loans were worth it. Strada Education Network and Gallup surveyed a nationally representative sample of more than 6,000 student loan holders.
Our mission is to improve lives by forging clearer and more purposeful pathways between education and employment.
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