The Economic Imperative for More Adults to Complete Community College in D.C.

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Center for Law and Social Policy (CLASP) and National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS)

 Although the number of high school graduates in the United States is expected to remain largely unchanged between 2010 and 2020, something very different is happening in our nation’s capital.

Washington, D.C.’s projected high school graduation rate is expected to decline by 24 percent from its 2010 level during the same time period, according to a new report from the Center for Law and Social Policy and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems. This is worse than the trend in any other state. The report states that ensuring that more adults have access to, and complete college, is critical for the United States’ economic competitiveness.

The report doesn’t cite the reason for the drop in high school graduates specifically, but alludes to the aging population in the District of Columbia.

In Washington specifically, adults without a high school diploma are almost twice as likely to be without a job compared to those with at least some college education. Those with a bachelor’s degree have an unemployment rate just over 3 percent in Washington, while those with only a high school diploma face an unemployment rate of slightly over 13 percent.

However, the demand for workers with postsecondary education in Washington will rise by almost 9 percent between 2008 and 2018, even though the demand for other workers will grow more slowly at just under 8 percent during the same time frame.

By 2018, 70 percent of jobs in Washington (and nearly two-thirds of jobs in the United States) will require some postsecondary training or education.

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