New Jersey commits to 65% educational attainment rate by 2025, highest in the nation

NJBIZ- New Jersey is committing to becoming the most educated state in the country.

Under the banner of “65 by 25”, New Jersey announced its plan to achieve 65 percent educational attainment among Jersey residents by the year 2025 in a joint conference between the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, the Department of Education, the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Lumina Foundation, a private company focused on education in the United States.

“New Jersey should and could lead the way globally,” Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks said at a conference held with more than 120 key individuals in the educational industry at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation building in Princeton. “If Edison and Einstein were here today they’d say the same thing. That 'Trenton Makes, The World Takes,' " she said, adding, “That’s not a bridge too far.”

The attainment level is a metric used to measure the amount of secondary and higher education achieved by residents of a state.

New Jersey’s average sits at 50 percent, several points above the national average of 47 percent. Educational attainment does not exclusively refer to four-year bachelor degrees, but rather any type of additional education post-high school.

Although the Garden State has a high attainment average, the state has a high disparity based on geographical location. Somerset County has the highest average at 62 percent, whereas Cumberland County sits at the lowest average with 22 percent.

The interest in increasing the state’s attainment levels were touched on earlier in the year by various agencies, but today’s event marked the gathering of institutions working toward the same goal.

Part of the interest in attainment goals has been propelled by statistics that Lumina Foundation CEO and President Jamie Merisotis referred to as “killer facts.”

“11.6 billion jobs were created (since the recession), of those new jobs, 11.5 billion went to people with post-secondary credentials,” Merisotis said.

The Lumina Foundation awarded the state of New Jersey a $100,000 grant for the 65 by 25 initiative.

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