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Number of Vermonters Holding Post-High School Credential Increases

53% of adults hold a certificate, degree, or industry certification, 17% short of state goal

Winooski, Vermont—The number of Vermonters who have completed education and training after high school is on the rise. According the Lumina Foundation, 53 percent of working age Vermonters hold a certificate, degree or industry-recognized certification. The figure, up from 49 percent, is based on 2018 data that for the first time includes industry-recognized certifications. Lumina has measured educational attainment through its Stronger Nation report since 2009.

Last year, the state formally adopted the goal that 70 percent of working age Vermonters will hold a “credential of value” – such as an apprenticeship, certificate, or degree – by 2025. While Vermont’s postsecondary attainment rates have increased in recent years, 65,000 more Vermonters ages 25-64 will need to possess a credential of value by 2025 to meet the state target.

“Education and training beyond high school is a key determinate of the economic wellbeing of Vermont residents,” said Tom Cheney, Executive Director of Advance Vermont.  “We are pleased to see the number of Vermonters with education after high school grow, though much work remains, especially in light of COVID-19. The unequal impact the pandemic is having on those without a post-high school education underscores the importance of ensuring that every Vermonter can access and afford the education needed to advance in their career, whether it be a short-term certificate or college degree.”

Unemployment rates during COVID-19 have been higher among those with lower levels of education, which may be leading to renewed interest in education and training after high school. According to data from the Strada Education Network, 1 in 3 American workers report that if they lost their job they would need more education to get a new job with similar status and compensation. However, less than half (44 percent) of Americans say they have access to the education and training they want.

In January, Advance Vermont unveiled an interactive data dashboard to measure progress toward Vermont’s postsecondary attainment goal, illuminate equity-related gaps, and prompt action to increase postsecondary attainment. It breaks down Vermont’s attainment rate by demographics including age, race, gender, and county.