TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami/NSF) – Fifty-five percent of Florida’s working-age population should have college degrees or professional certificates by 2025, a state panel decided Monday.READ MORE: Panthers Fall To Blues In OT 4-3
Currently, less than 47 percent of the population meets the “attainment” goal of having four-year degrees or two-year degrees or professional or technical certificates.
The state Higher Education Coordinating Council on Monday set the preliminary 55 percent goal as part of a process to obtain a grant to help the state promote the alignment of the education levels of its workforce with the needs of Florida’s future economy and employers.
State officials project about 64 percent of Florida’s jobs in 2025 will require education beyond high school, including 30 percent requiring bachelor’s or graduate degrees and another 33 percent requiring two-year degrees or post-secondary certifications.
“This is a very big step for the state,” said Alan Levine, chairman of the higher education council and a member of the Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the state university system.
Levine said this is the first time Florida has set a degree-attainment goal, noting the decision was a collaborative effort on the education panel that includes representatives of state universities, state colleges, private colleges, public schools and the business community.
With the preliminary attainment goal set, the state will apply for funding from the Lumina Foundation, an Indiana-based nonprofit group that is promoting higher degree-attainment goals across the nation. Lumina wants to raise the national attainment level to 60 percent by 2025.
“Once you establish a statewide attainment goal, they help you develop a plan for how to communicate and then collaborate with the various different institutions of education to start down the path of achieving the goal,” Levine said.
He compared the effort to the Board of Governors setting higher graduation-rate goals for the state universities, leading to Florida having the best six-year graduation rate among the 10 largest states.READ MORE: Have You Seen This Woman? Andreae Lloyd Missing After Being Abducted From Homestead Home
“Now the big deal is get (the attainment goal) out there and get it infused in everybody’s psyche that this is our goal,” Levine said.
In 2014, 45.3 percent of Americans had college degrees or certifications, according to Lumina. Florida was slightly ahead of that with 45.9 percent of its residents having degrees or certificates, with that rising to 46.9 percent last year, according to state officials.
Levine said Florida’s attainment goal of 55 percent for the working-age population between 25 and 64 years old could be adjusted upward as more data is collected.
He and other members of the council said they want to understand how Florida’s growth rate, which is projected at some 324,000 new residents a year for the next five years, could impact the attainment rate.
Levine and other council members also said one thing that may distinguish Florida’s degree-attainment goal from other states is the effort to link the level of attainment with the needs of Florida’s employers and economy.
“It’s really about the workforce and making sure we have a talent pipeline to attract industry partners and for individuals to grow and start their businesses in Florida,” said Madeline Pumariega, chancellor of the Florida state college system.
Pumariega and Marshall Criser, chancellor of the state university system, also said reaching the attainment goal will require coordination among all levels of the state education system, including increasing the number of high school graduates.
“We understand that is a continuum all the way from K-12 to the highest potential degree that a student might achieve,” Criser said.MORE NEWS: Jury Reaches Verdict Of Manslaughter In Dayonte Resiles Murder Trial, Then Goes Back To Deliberating Room
The News Service of Florida’s Lloyd Dunkelberger contributed to this report.