Postsecondary education

By 2020, 67% of the state’s jobs will require a postsecondary degree or credential. Today, 49% of North Carolinians 25 to 44 have such an education. Pixabay.com illustration

RALEIGH — A bill N.C. lawmakers passed in late June aims to help 2 million residents get a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030.

The state’s workforce will lag if North Carolina doesn’t boost education opportunities for residents, show findings from myFutureNC, a statewide organization for educational attainment. By 2020, 67% of the state’s jobs will require a postsecondary degree or credential. Today, 49% of North Carolinians 25 to 44 have such an education.

House Bill 664, myFutureNC/Postsecondary Attainment Goal, seeks to close the gap.

Rep. John Fraley, R-Iredell, who is also a member of the myFutureNC Commission, sponsored the bill.

 “Once you get into the workforce and start raising a family, if you lose your job due to automation and you’re not properly educated or trained or ready to go back to school, it could have a huge impact on your life and your ability to make a living,” Fraley said.

The bill passed the House 114-1; the Senate, 46-0. The first edition of the bill included a joint legislative task force, which was later eliminated and replaced with a requirement that the myFutureNC Commission report annually to the Joint Legislative Oversight Committee and the General Assembly about its progress toward the 2030 goal.

Fraley said representatives from the House, Senate, and governor’s office will collaborate with members of the commission to examine which of the state’s education programs are working.

“It’s too early to tell exactly how that’s going to work. My sense is that ultimately there’s going to be a task force that is developed to work on those items, and they will be in charge of what they want to report to the myFutureNC Commission.”

Fraley said he believes it is “quite urgent” that the state begin making progress on the initiative, and that it will ultimately benefit North Carolina’s economic vitality.

“I think this is a very exciting and worthwhile endeavor, and it’s going to require a lot of people to work together toward the same goal.”

Gov. Roy Cooper signed the bill into law.

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