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Education Leaders Untangling Unemployment Paradox

Last updated on Wednesday, May 25, 2011

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) - Indiana’s education leaders are trying to untangle a paradox: in a period in which the state’s unemployment rate has only recently escaped double digits, businesses are reporting a talent shortage.

Economist Graham Toft tells the Education Roundtable, the panel which helps chart state education policy, the solution is simple: the state has done all the right things to improve its business climate, but still lags behind the nation in the number of residents with college degrees.

And high school performance is treading water, while the worst-performing states are gaining ground.

The roundtable has commissioned a study, due in September, to predict what skills today's second-graders will need when they graduate from college, and to suggest how to ensure they have them.

Toft and Governor Daniels say lagging educational performance creates an undertow on attempts to increase Hoosiers' income.

One piece of the solution, Toft says: stronger connections between the state's businesses and universities.

Ivy Tech President Thomas Snyder adds the state should consider making it easier to move on from an Associate's degree from Ivy Tech to completing a Baccalaureate degree.

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