Too few metro Detroiters are earning college degrees, report saysApril 7, 2022
Apr. 6, 2022
The number of metro Detroiters enrolling in college or post-high school training programs was already declining pre-COVID, but now it’s falling even lower. The number of residents earning degrees is also declining, raising concerns that employers will continue to struggle to find qualified workers.
The State of Education raised those concerns in a report released Wednesday by the Detroit Regional Chamber. The report uses regional, state, and national data to paint a grim outlook for metro Detroit and students who are Black or Latino or come from low-income homes. The report also says that efforts to get more residents, particularly adults, to earn degrees or certificates have stalled
Currently, just half of the 11-county region’s residents have a postsecondary credential, which includes two-year and four-year college degrees or a certificate in fields such as nursing or welding. The goal is to get that number up to 60%, but that won’t happen if enrollment continues to decline or those in college don’t finish.
“COVID has taken a toll and has made a bad situation even worse,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the chamber.
If the percentage doesn’t improve, the implications aren’t just dire for employers trying to fill jobs, Baruah told reporters this week.
“One of the reasons this issue is so important is (that) the level of educational attainment has a direct impact on an individual and a family’s economic security,” Baruah said. An individual’s financial stability is also directly related to the financial stability of a community. And “employers will go where the talent is,” he said.