2025 Educational Attainment Goal

2025 Educational Attainment Goal

By 2025, 68 percent of all jobs in Iowa will require postsecondary training or education.1 According to the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 32 percent of Iowa jobs will require a high school diploma or less, 39 percent will require some college or an associate degree, 21 percent will require a bachelor’s degree and 8 percent will require a graduate degree. “Some college” includes vocational certificates, occupational licenses, professional certifications, apprenticeship programs and college credits that have market value. In anticipation of these future career demands, Governor Terry Branstad and Lieutenant Governor Kim Reynolds have set a goal that 70 percent of Iowans in the workforce have education or training beyond high school by 2025. To achieve this goal, the Future Ready Iowa initiative was created to develop strategies to “better align education, workforce and economic development efforts” in Iowa.2 Iowa’s educational attainment goal is more ambitious than the goal set by the Lumina Foundation (a private foundation with the goal of increasing educational attainment in the U.S.), that 60 percent of U.S. citizens have some postsecondary training by 2025.3

Overall, Iowa ranks 26th in the nation in private sector job growth since December 2007, before the economic recession.4 During the recession, less educated populations were among the hardest hit and are now less likely to be rehired in similar positions. Jobs that did not require postsecondary education before the recession are now being filled by individuals with a higher level of education.5 Between 2005 and 2014, the number of jobs held by bachelor’s degree recipients (or higher) increased the fastest, while the number of jobs held by people with associate degrees or some college also went up. Between 2005 and 2014, employment of those with a high school diploma or less dropped 14 percent.6

Growth of STEM

Over 90 percent of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) jobs require education beyond high school and over 60 percent require a bachelor’s degree or higher. STEM jobs are expected to be among the fastest growing jobs in Iowa with a 22 percent increase between 2010 and 2025.1 Careers in such areas as science, computer science and mathematics, medical and health, and engineering and technology fall into the broad STEM category.7 For all jobs, Iowa is expected to experience 1.1 percent annual job growth, but those in some STEM areas are expected to exceed that rate with an average of 1.6 percent annual growth. STEM jobs in business and financial operations, computer and mathematical disciplines, and healthcare practitioners or technical workers are expected to grow the fastest.8

Currently in Iowa, four of the five occupations experiencing the most job vacancies are STEM jobs.8,9 High vacancy STEM jobs include farming, fishing and forestry; computer and mathematical science; architecture and engineering; and healthcare practitioner.

Benefits of Higher Education

Increasing educational attainment will meet Iowa’s future career demands, but also benefit both individual Iowans and their communities. Individuals with higher education typically have higher incomes in a given year and over a lifetime. However, the benefits go beyond income. For example, individuals who complete higher education are less likely to smoke or be obese. Communities will also benefit from a population with greater educational attainment as they experience decreased incarceration rates, increased volunteerism and greater voter participation.10

1)     Carnevale, A., Smith, N., Gulish, A., & Hanson, A. R. (2015). Iowa: Education and Workforce Trends through 2025.
2)     Office of the Governor. Future Ready Iowa Fact Sheet.
3)     Lumina Foundation. (2013). Strategic Plan 2013 to 2016.
4)     Joint Economic Committee, United States Congress. (April, 2016). State Economic Snapshots.
5)     Carnevale, A., Smith, N., and Strohl, J. (2013). Recovery: Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020.
6)     U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates. (2005-2014). Employment Status.
7)     The ACT. (2015). The Condition of STEM – Iowa.
8)     Heiden, E.O., Kemis, M., Gillon, K. E., Whittaker, M., Park, K.H., & Losch, M. E. (2015). Iowa STEM Monitoring Project, 2014-2015 Annual Report. Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council.
9)     Iowa Workforce Development. (2015). Workforce Assessment Needs.
10)   The CollegeBoard. (2013). Education Pays, the Benefits of Higher Education for Individuals and Society.

Printed from the Iowa College Student Aid Commission website on December 15, 2017 at 5:40pm.