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Report: Lack of Vocational and Career Education in California Leads to Severe Skilled Worker Shortage, Billions in Lost Income

SACRAMENTO, Calif., March 28, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- California's economy needs far more workers with advanced vocational and career training than its colleges and universities can provide, and this skills gap will cost Californians billions in foregone income, a new report has found.

Over the next decade, 2.45 million Californians will be crowded out of college programs that lead to career-oriented degrees, diplomas and professional certificates, the report found. The resulting lack of professional skills will deny California workers entry into many high-paying jobs and cost them more than $50 billion in lost personal income.

The report, "Left Out, Left Behind: California's Widening Workforce Training Gap," indicates that the state's economy is creating good jobs in fields such as health care and education, but its higher education system cannot produce nearly enough graduates with the skills to fill them.

Statewide, the demand for a community college education in California already exceeds capacity by 591,000 full-time students. In half of California's 58 counties, the gap between demand and supply exceeds 40%. In seven other counties the gap is between 25-40%, and in six more, the gap is between 10-25%.

"This research shows that the skills gap poses a serious threat to the California economy and that the state needs a serious, comprehensive response," said Steven Lindauer, National Director, Education & Workforce Development, Corinthian Colleges, Inc. "Private career colleges can help close this gap by reaching students who would otherwise be left out and left behind in the new economy. Corinthian plans to be part of the solution."

The report was based on research from Encina Advisors, LLC, a Sacramento-based economic consultancy, and was released today at the annual conference of the California Workforce Association, which is composed of the state's local Workforce Investment Boards. The report was commissioned by Corinthian Colleges, Inc., which is based in Santa Ana, CA and is one of the largest higher education organizations in North America. Corinthian's three schools – Everest, Heald, and WyoTech – enroll more than 88,000 students, including about 25,000 in California.

According to the report, programs that lead to associate degrees, certificates, or diplomas, and can be completed in two years or less, are in particularly short supply.

The study notes that private career colleges, which offer vocational training and education to non-traditional students, can help close the skills gap in California.

"Workforce development is a critical policy issue for California and the nation," said John D. Baker, Interim Director of the California Workforce Association. "Whereas other nations are choosing to make substantial investments to skill up their workers, the U.S. appears to be timid in committing resources, leaving our talent development infrastructure vulnerable. This report demonstrates the need for policies that provide opportunities for workers to develop the necessary skills needed to prosper in a changing economy while supporting the economic competitiveness of businesses."

"Left Out, Left Behind" not only documents the magnitude of California's workforce education skills gap, but also quantifies how much money that gap will cost individuals, employers, and the state economy. The report found that people who attend or graduate from college are much more likely to be employed and earn substantially more than those who did not pursue educational opportunities beyond high school.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, last year's unemployment rate among those with less than a high school diploma was about 12%; among high school graduates was 8.8%, and among those with associate degree or some college, was 6.6%. Researchers also found that the typical 25- to 34- year-old increases his or her annual income by $2,272 for each year of college attendance. Those with an associate degree earn $6,432 more annually.

The "Left Out, Left Behind" report also warned that ignoring the skills gap will cost California billions of dollars in lost income. According to the report, "insufficient access to career education translates into foregone income of thousands of dollars annually for each Californian denied access. Statewide, over the next decade, the gap will result in a projected loss of foregone personal income of $52.2 billion. Counties with the largest demand-supply gap will face potential cumulative personal income losses ranging from $1.4 billion to $17.1 billion."

"The statistics clearly show that postsecondary education leads to higher employment and higher take-home pay," states study author Dr. Justin L. Adams, President and Chief Economist of Encina Advisors, LLC. "So increasing the opportunities to obtain career-oriented education would benefit not only the typical Californian, but the state as a whole."

The entire report, "Left Out, Left Behind: California's Widening Workforce Training Gap" is available at no charge at www.mycareercounts.org.

About Corinthian Colleges

Corinthian is one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America. Our mission is to change students' lives. We offer diploma and degree programs that prepare students for careers in demand or for advancement in their chosen fields. Our program areas include health care, business, criminal justice, transportation technology and maintenance, construction trades and information technology. We have 113 Everest, Heald and WyoTech campuses, and also offer degrees online. For more information, go to http://www.cci.edu.

CONTACT: Kent Jenkins Vice President, Public Affairs Communications, Corinthian Colleges, Inc. (714) 825-7556 kentjenkins@cci.edu

Source:Corinthian Colleges, Inc.