Florida needs more college graduates, report states
Florida has slightly improved its level of college attainment, but still has a distance to go if it is to meet the state's workforce needs, the Lumina Foundation reports in its latest publication of A Stronger Nation Through Higher Education.
According to the report, 37 percent of working-age Floridians held a 2- or 4-year college degree in 2011 (the latest year available), up slightly from 36.5 percent in 2010. Nationally, 38.7 percent of working-age adults held degrees.
“Research from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce tells us that 59 percent of all Florida jobs will require postsecondary education by 2018,” Jamie P. Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina, said in a release. “This means that Florida is now facing a troubling talent gap and significantly more graduates are needed to meet future workforce needs. New strategies are required to address this challenge and we urge more policymakers, business leaders and higher education institutions from across the state to mobilize around this important issue.”
The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater region ranked fourth among Florida's largest metro areas for college attainment:
1. Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford (39.75%)
2. Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville (39.34%)
3. Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-Pompano Beach (39.27%)
4. Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater (37.35%)
5. Jacksonville (37.20%)
6. North Port-Bradenton-Sarasota (37.09%)
7. Cape Coral-Fort Myers (32.19%)
8. Lakeland-Winter Haven (27.02%)
Gov. Rick Scott and the Legislature have stressed the importance of preparing Florida students for the world of work, most recently adding emphasis to career programs in the high schools.
See the Florida-specific report from the Lumina publication for more information.