The South needs college-educated citizens to fill high-skill jobs, concludes a new MDC report, The State of the South 2010, Talent and Skill: Antidotes to Uncertainty.
B 2018, 49 to 64 percent of jobs in the region will require some college, the report predicts. Currently only 30 to 44 percent of adults hold postsecondary degrees. Blacks and Latinos, who are much less likely to earn college degrees, will make up a larger share of the South’s working-age population as largely white baby-boomers move into retirement.
“Historically, the Southern economy did not require a well-educated, well-credentialed workforce,” said David Dodson, president of MDC. “Today, postsecondary credentials are increasingly the key to success in the occupations that will drive our economy and provide prosperity for Southern workers and communities.”
Of every 100 ninth graders in the south, 30 don’t graduate from high school in four years, the report found. Forty graduate but either don’t go to college or drop out before their second year. After six years, only 20 percent have earned a college degree.
Unemployment rates in Southern states for people 25-64 years old range from 10 percent to 22.4 percent for high school drop-outs, 5.4 percent to 9.7 percent for people with some college or an associate’s degree, and 3 percent to 6 percent for people with a bachelor’s degree or higher.