Key findings of the study include:
• Education increases regional prosperity. Adding one year to the average years of schooling among the employed in a metropolitan area is associated with an increase of real GDP per capita of more than ten percent, and an increase in real wages per worker of more than eight percent.
• Better educated = bigger benefits. The better educated the worker, the greater the benefit of additional schooling, to both the worker and the region. Add one year of college to a region's workforce, for instance, and GDP per capita jumps 17.4 percent.
• Clusters count. In metros with clusters of high-skilled occupations, the share of workers holding at least a master's degree is much higher than in metros without significant clusters, perhaps because of the intense competition for employment.
The implications of "A Matter of Degrees" for policy makers, community leaders, and educators are extensive. The findings provide a compelling argument for strategic investments in higher education to enhance regional economic competitiveness -- and by extension, U.S. competitiveness overall. The report's key policy recommendations for governments, educational institutions, and businesses include: make higher education more affordable and accessible; increase higher-education graduation rates; and strengthen coordination between industries and higher-education institutions.
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