Report | May 11, 2018

Expanding Postsecondary Opportunities for a Stronger Pennsylvania

Workforce skills gaps require postsecondary learning that prioritizes quality credentials and affordability for all

Pennsylvania’s demand for skilled labor is rising. By 2024, 50 percent of jobs in Pennsylvania will require some type of postsecondary education. However, based on current data, just over 43 percent of working age Pennsylvanians have acquired that level of postsecondary education.

According to the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry, “More than half of Pennsylvania’s employers (52 percent) reported having difficulty hiring people with adequate skills, training or education. This is especially true of the technical and skilled trade jobs.” Additionally, most employers are finding it difficult to recruit qualified candidates; they are also losing around $189 million each year due to additional training and reduced productivity.

Students are earning and learning, which means they can provide for their families while they learn new skills that aid them in moving up in the world of manufacturing.

Abigail Peslis, Director of Corporate and Business Services, HACC’s Workforce Development and Continuing Education Division

Pennsylvania employers are counting on postsecondary institutions to play an important role in filling our state’s skills gap by expanding opportunities to students. Postsecondary institutions must collaborate with regional businesses and other community partners to ensure degrees and credentials of quality are adequately preparing students for in-demand careers and yielding family sustaining employment.

Colleges and universities also need to provide options that allow for flexibility in educational format (including learning opportunities on campus, online, on a job site, on military deployment or on other new and emerging platforms) to meet the needs of today’s students.

To ensure that more Pennsylvanians achieve postsecondary credentials, our state’s business community, academia, and policymakers must work together to create transparent pathways between credentials and careers that meet the demands of the 21st Century workforce. This report goes into further details on the importance of expanding postsecondary opportunities for a competitive Pennsylvania.

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  1. Postsecondary Completion


  1. Pennsylvania