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Job creation via higher ed

Published: Thu, March 13, 2014 @ 12:00 a.m.

Aiken (S.C.) Standard: A new generation of high-tech manufacturing is undoubtedly emerging, but if South Carolina can’t keep pace with that transformation, the state’s economy will be left in the dust. That’s the unnerving reality that a recent study from the University of South Carolina reveals about our state’s future.

The study — released by the university in November 2013 — notes that by 2030, our state will have a shortfall of about 44,000 workers holding two-year degrees and about 70,500 workers who hold bachelor’s degrees or higher.

The report also notes that the percentage of a state’s population with a college degree is the single best predictor of its national ranking in personal per capita income levels. Without a trained workforce, the economic gains that South Carolina has made in recent years will certainly erode.

Companies such as Bridgestone and MTU America in Aiken County thankfully have a formula that’s working — cultivating workforce development programs that help to sustain the region’s economic stability.

Lawmakers in Columbia need to appropriately fund higher education and allow administrators to foster the right academic environment.

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