Colorado Leads All 50 states in Educational Attainment

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DENVER ~ In a recent report released by the Lumina Foundation, Colorado has been named the leading state in postsecondary educational attainment. The report, titled A Stronger Nation: Learning Beyond High School Builds American Talent, provides data on educational attainment levels across the country by state, region, and race/ethnicity.

According to the report, 62.9% of Colorado's population aged 25-64 holds some form of postsecondary credential. This includes certifications, certificates, and graduate and professional degrees. Governor Jared Polis expressed pride in this achievement but also acknowledged that there is room for improvement.

"Colorado is proud to lead the nation in educational attainment, but we know we can do even better," said Governor Polis. "We want to ensure that every Coloradan has the opportunity to get the skills they need to fill good-paying jobs that power our economy."

The report also shows promising gains in bachelor's and graduate degree attainment among Coloradans. Since 2009, bachelor's degree attainment has increased from 24.5% to 30.5%, while graduate degree attainment has increased from 12.9% to 16.6%.

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In 2023, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education released a strategic plan focused on increasing economic mobility for learners and earners in the state. The plan, titled Building Skills in an Evolving Economy, aims to align postsecondary talent development with industry and statewide needs.

Dr. Angie Paccione, executive director of CDHE, expressed her pride in Colorado's achievement and emphasized the importance of aligning education initiatives with workforce demands.

"I am proud that Colorado has secured its place as the leading state in postsecondary educational attainment in the country," said Dr. Paccione. "Our commitment to excellence in education positions us at the forefront, and with this achievement, we stand ready to be responsive to the dynamic needs of the industry and workforce."

The report also highlights increases in postsecondary educational attainment among Coloradans of color. African American or Black Coloradans saw an increase from 39.2% in 2018 to 41.6% in 2022, while American Indian or Alaska Native Coloradans saw an increase from 29.9% to 33.7%. Hispanic or Latino Coloradans also saw a significant increase from 23.8% to 30.3%.

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Colorado's need for postsecondary educational attainment is among the highest in the nation, according to a recent report by Georgetown University. The report projects that by 2023, 73% of jobs in Colorado will require some form of postsecondary education, and by 2031, the state is projected to have the highest percentage of jobs requiring a bachelor's degree.

With this achievement, Colorado is well-positioned to meet the demands of an evolving job market and ensure that its residents are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge for success. As Governor Polis stated, "This landmark report shows that Colorado is moving in the right direction, and we continue working to innovate and create even more ways that people can get credentialed or certified for skills they acquire in life or in higher education."

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