It’s graduation season, and that means high school seniors have reached a significant milestone. But a new report says not enough of them in Washington state are going on to postsecondary education.
The Washington Roundtable, an organization of employers in the state, including Boeing, Paccar and Alaska Airlines, has just published a new report tracking the state’s progress in increasing the number of high school students who go on to earn some sort of post high school degree or credential.
Steve Mullin, president of the roundtable, said there has been progress in recent years, mostly because high school graduation rates have climbed.
“Unfortunately we’re quite low relative to many other states in terms of the percentage of those high school graduates who enroll immediately in any sort of a postsecondary education opportunity,” he said.
For example, Massachusetts has a much higher percentage of high school graduates who start a postsecondary education program right away.
Mullin said with so many booming industries in the state, including technology, kids who grow up here need to be able to compete for those jobs. A credential or degree is key, he said.
“It’s going to lead to two things – higher pay and higher pay opportunities over the course of your career,” Mullin said.
He said the state needs to invest in more financial aid programs and wraparound services for students who may be the first in their family to go to college.