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Job skills found lacking in public higher ed

Oct. 26, 2012 - 01:52PM   |   Last Updated: Oct. 26, 2012 - 01:52PM  |  
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Public higher education is earning more F's than A's when it comes to preparing students for the workforce, according to a recent report from the Institute for a Competitive Workforce. Each state received grades for four-year institutions and two-year institutions in four categories. In two categories policy environment and innovation each state was graded based on performance by state government officials. The report uses data from different sources from 2008 through 2012. Among the findings:

At the four-year level, Washington, California and Florida earned the highest grades. The worst performers were Alaska, Idaho, Louisiana and Nevada.

North Dakota and South Dakota outperformed other states at the two-year level.

Florida was the only state to receive A's at both the four-year and two-year levels.

In all but three states, statewide completion rates at four-year public colleges hovered around 50 percent.

In 17 states, fewer than half of first-time students at four-year institutions got their bachelor's degrees within six years.

Completion rates for two-year colleges are even worse. Just one state South Dakota had a statewide graduation rate higher than 40 percent, and 33 states had two-year completion rates at or below 25 percent.

Just two states, Minnesota and Texas, received A's for "transparency and accountability" among four-year institutions. Thirteen states received F's. No two-year institution earned an A for that category.

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