America faces an opportunity crisis. The ability to earn a good life depends heavily on a person’s skills and educational attainment, and nearly two in three jobs now require some form of postsecondary education.1 Yet only 40% of adults in the United States have that level of education.2 Simply put, too few Americans have the skills and credentials that employers are seeking and that workers need to earn a good life.
Driving this crisis is the fact that our postsecondary education and training system doesn’t do enough to help people earn high-quality credentials quickly—both today and throughout a worker’s career. In an earlier report, we examined six hurdles that Americans face in pursuing postsecondary credentials. These include:
- Credentials don’t build on each other
- Lack of opportunities to earn while you learn
- Lack of credit for prior learning and work experience
- Limited wrap-around supports for adult learners
- Not enough employer-sponsored training
- Burdensome occupational licensing requirements