Why Flexible Degrees?

A recent analysis by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, Jobs and Education Requirements through 2020, based on center’s analysis of occupation data and workforce trends between now and 2020, Oregon will need to fill about 694,000 vacancies resulting from job creation, worker retirements and other factors. Of these job vacancies, 480,000 will require postsecondary education and nearly half of these vacancies will require bachelors and advanced degrees. Only 214,000 are expected to be filled by high school graduates or dropouts.

One excellent place to begin looking for these additional graduates is in the ranks of Oregon residents who have completed some college without earning a degree. In 2011, nearly 567,000 Oregon residents fit into this category— representing more than 27.12% of the state’s adult population. If only a small portion of this group could be supported in attaining a bachelor or advanced degree, it would go a long way to helping Oregon to meet workforce needs and reach its 40-40-20 goals.

Degree attainment gaps among racial and ethnic group in Oregon are significant (41.54% of whites vs. 15.8% Hispanic, 25-64 age group). Thus, an important aspect of PSU’s student success strategy is ensuring that students of color, low-income, first generation and working adults have access to and are successful in PSU’s Flexible Degree programs.

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