The Business Case for Education Reform

In this report, we illustrate how our education system impacts our workforce and economy, making the case for education reform in simple, practical, dollars-and cents terms.

We look at systemic shortcomings and quantify the impact they have on the workforce pipeline, operating conditions for businesses, and the larger, long-term economic consequence for Colorado. We complement our data with vivid commentary from CEOs and industry leaders who provide insight on the skills, talent, and educational demands of the current or future workforce, and the tremendous career opportunities available for educated candidates.

This report duly acknowledges where Colorado performs better than other states and higher than the national average. It is equally important to learn from, and expand upon, the things that work well in Colorado’s education system.

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The state’s education pipeline will determine how well Colorado’s economic engine performs.” Tisha Schuller, Colorado Oil & Gas

Highlights

30,000 Learners

Colorado produces an average of 61,000 jobs annually, created by retirements and new demand, requiring some level of college education. These high paying jobs exist across many different sectors and industries. But, only 30,000 students each year—half of those needed—will exit our educational system with the qualifications to fill these jobs.

49% of Students

Colorado schools are producing only half (49%) the workers needed to fill our increasingly high-skills jobs.

82% of High School Graduates

Colorado K-12 schools matriculate only 82% of the high school graduates needed to fill jobs in thriving industries like retail, manufacturing, and others. Annually, there are 22,000 new jobs in Colorado that only require a high school diploma. But with the 28% high school dropout rate, the education system only produces 18,000 diploma-carrying candidates to fill these jobs.

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