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Hart: Az facing shortage of skilled, educated labor

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Hart: Az facing shortage of skilled, educated labor

Looking for more bad news about Arizona's economic future? Want to feel a little more anxious about your children's prospects?

You're in luck. A new report from a Washington, D.C. research institute concludes that the U.S. as a whole – notably including Arizona – will soon be facing a critical shortage of trained and educated workers who are qualified to fill the jobs of the future.

The Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce calculates that, by 2020, 65 percent percent of job vacancies nationwide will require some post-secondary education and training – a jump from 28 percent in 1973. In fact, four of the five fastest-growing occupations will require high levels of post-secondary education: healthcare, professional and technical; science: technology, engineering and math; education and community services.

For Arizona, the figures are equally unsettling. The report estimates that 68 percent of Arizona jobs will require post-secondary education and training by 2020; this includes a B.A. or higher academic degree, an associate's degree, some college or a post-secondary vocational certificate.

If it's any comfort, the report found that "almost all" states are falling short of the educational levels the report claims will be necessary to meet the 2020 challenges. Arizona, at 60 percent of the required attainment level, ties the national average.

This is not exactly news. Scholars, educators, political leaders and other Arizonans have been warning about our substandard educational system for years.** And clearly part of the reason for this imminent shortage is the retirement of the large Baby Boom generation.

What's the other part?

Morrison Institute for Public Policy is a leader in examining critical Arizona and regional issues, and is a catalyst for public dialogue. An Arizona State University resource, Morrison Institute uses nonpartisan research and communication outreach to help improve the state's quality of life.

Bill Hart is a senior policy analyst at Morrison Institute for Public Policy.

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