Study: U.S. needs 20 million more college-educated workers by 2025

According to a recent study by Georgetown University's Center on Education and the Workforce (CEW), adding 20 million college-educated workers to the U.S. economy by 2025 could add more than $100 billion in additional tax revenues, boost the GDP by $500 billion, and begin to reverse the growth of income inequality.

The report, entitled "The Undereducated American," [PDF file] was written by CEW director Anthony Carnevale and CEW senior economist and research professor Stephen Rose. According to the report, the U.S. will need 15 million new bachelor's degree holders, 4 million workers with non-degree post-secondary credentials, and 1 million workers with associate's degrees.

Without those workers, Carnevale and Rose say, the disparity between the wages of college-educated workers and those of high school-educated workers will increase from 74 percent to 96 percent. Adding 20 million college-educated workers, they write, would increase wages for people with high school diplomas by 24 percent, while wages for those with associate's degrees would increase by 15 percent, and wages for those with college degrees would rise by 6 percent.

In order to reach that goal, the authors write, 75 percent of the workforce will have to have at least one year of college education by 2025. "This represents a significant increase from the current trend, which would lead to 65 percent of the labor force with at least some college by 2025," the report states. "Furthermore, achieving this goal would result in 55 percent of the labor force having at least an associate's degree, compared with 42 percent today."

Doing so, Carnevale and Rose suggest, will have broad repercussions throughout the U.S. "by increasing the number of people in the workforce with post-secondary credentials to 20 million, we will not only have a more competitive economy, we will also have more equitable prosperity--and the American dream will come within reach of millions more of our citizens," they write.