Serious education issue Critical to State’s Future

Dear Editor,
The Public Policy Institute of California’s latest report offers
the following: by the year 2025, California will grow by the size
of Ohio, the sixth most populous state in the nation.
Dear Editor,

The Public Policy Institute of California’s latest report offers the following: by the year 2025, California will grow by the size of Ohio, the sixth most populous state in the nation. Service-oriented jobs, once thought to be of the lower-education and lower-wage domain, will outpace manufacturing jobs that are being outsourced overseas to lower paid workers.

Future service-oriented jobs in business, entertainment, health, recreation, professional and education activities will demand that its workers be college educated. Immigrants and the children of immigrants – primarily Mexican-Americans – will make up the largest percentage of California’s future work force. Historically, this demographic group has been the least likely to finish high school or to attend or finish college.

So, what do we have? California’s public education system, based upon the current funding structure (44th in the nation), will be unable to provide the college-educated work force demanded by the state’s future economy. The PPIC questions, “If the gap doesn’t narrow, and if the California working-age population doesn’t have the education required by jobs in the 2025 economy, will we have a generation of chronic underemployed?”

In 2004, the University of California denied 7,000 eligible candidates admission, and state colleges and community colleges, which typically cater to the lower-income population, continue to increase fees due to chronic state-wide funding cuts.

The PPIC authors allege, “It is particularly ironic that as the state seeks to cope with its budget woes, we may be limiting access to our public institutions of higher education, thereby potentially limiting the source of higher tax revenues from the working population in the future.”

If California cannot meet its educated workforce needs in the future, then businesses might leave the state, or will look outside the state to meet their job requirements.

The PPIC concludes its education analysis by stating that Californians rated funding education as it highest priority in the past several years, and adds “A failure of California’s education system to deliver the workforce it needs is the most critical threat to (California’s) future.”

Dale Morejón, Gilroy

LEAVE A REPLY