California workers face a growing education gap, study says

Under-educated Californians could lose out on billions of dollars of income over the next decade, a study estimated. Above, students from around the state march to the state Capitol last month, calling for more funding for higher education.
(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

A growing education gap in California could diminish workers’ chances of finding jobs in the coming years, according to a study.

Post-recession, companies increasingly look for employees with skills and education beyond a high school diploma, according to a study from Corinthian Colleges and economic consulting firm Encina Advisors. That’s a big problem in the Golden State, where demand for community colleges already outstrips available spots by 591,000.

“California has begun a transition to a new economy that requires post-secondary education and skills in healthcare, education, service industries and management,” the report says. “The new economy has created jobs which are yet to be filled, and the state lacks trained, qualified individuals to fill them.”


During the economic recovery, some companies have complained that a lack of qualified workers leads to trouble filling open positions. Recent studies have found that many firms are waiting longer to hire and demanding workers with college degrees.

The study estimates that under-educated Californians could lose out on billions of dollars of income over the next decade. During that time, an estimated 2.45 million Californians who want a community college education will be unable to find an open spot.

On average, those aged 25 to 34 with an associate’s degree make $6,432 more per year compared to a worker with just a high school diploma.

“This gap between educational and vocational training ‘demand’ versus ‘supply’ represents a significant barrier to further economic recovery and growth,” the report said.


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