Inadequate Preparation for

Postsecondary Education and the Workforce

According to labor market projections, by 2018 approximately two-thirds of the jobs in the U.S. will require at least some postsecondary education, [1] and in Connecticut 65% of jobs will require postsecondary education. Connecticut will create 564,000 job vacancies between 2008 and 2018. Among these job vacancies 359,000 will require a postsecondary education, and 163,000 will require at least a high school diploma, leaving only 42,000 jobs that will be open to high school dropouts. [2] In 2008 the U.S. median earnings for young adults with a bachelor’s degree was $46,000, with an associates degree $36,000, with a high school diploma $30,000, and for those who did not complete high school $23,500. Thus adults ages 25-34 with a bachelor’s earn 28% more than young adults with an associates degree, 53% more than high school completers, and 96% more than young adults who did complete high school.[3] These figures suggest the quality of life for Connecticut citizens and the state’s economic vitality greatly depend on student access to and attainment of quality postsecondary preparation.  

The U.S. has been slow to increase postsecondary participation rates compared to other industrialized countries. Over the last thirty years the average industrialized country has increased its postsecondary attainment to over 75 %, more than double what the U.S. has done.[4] Connecticut must commit to increasing rigorous college preparatory options for students of color and linguistic minority students. Less than two-thirds of Connecticut high schools offer AP science, less than three-fourths offer AP English, and less the three-fourths offer AP Math.[5]


Jobs for the Future What It Takes to Succeed in the 21st Century – and How New Englanders Are Faring, Nellie Mae Education Foundation, Quincy, MA, 2008.

Pathways to Prosperity:  Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century, Harvard Graduate School of Education, Cambridge, MA, 2011.




[1] Carnevale, A, Smith, N. & Strohl, J. (2010). Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements through 2018. Washington, DC: Center on Education and the Workforce, Georgetown University

[2] Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018

[3] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics (2010). The Condition of Education 2010. Washington, DC.

[4] Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (November 2009). Postsecondary Success

[5] Connecticut State Department of Education (2009). Connecticut’s Secondary Schools A Case for Reform 






















Identifying the Problem