“Simply put, a lack of job opportunities for these graduates ... leads to their migration,” the study stated, “and ultimately low adult attainment despite a strong higher education pipeline.”
That jibes with what Piercy has been hearing from Logansport graduates who went on to complete a bachelor’s degree, she said.
“As you can see from our data, the percentage of students pursuing a higher education, in my opinion, is pretty impressive for a town of our size,” Piercy said. “Staff at LHS continue to impress upon all students the importance of obtaining their high school diploma and how that alone could affect their adult life.”
The CICP study focused on 10 key high-skill occupations in what it called “traded sector” industries, those which address needs beyond local residents and businesses — manufacturing, distribution logistics, life sciences, technology, corporate headquarters and finance, and engineering and technical services.
Of those occupations, Indiana’s growth beat national growth in just two: The state added physical scientists at nearly double the rate that the nation did, and computer-related occupations grew at 19 percent over six years versus the national rate of 13 percent growth. Other occupations either grew more slowly or declined faster than the national rate. The study took that as evidence of the state’s weak demand for occupations that demand at least a bachelor’s degree.
And while the coming retirement of Baby Boomers will open up a significant number of high-skill jobs, the study indicated many of them will have to be filled by people with both education and experience — something new graduates won’t have.
About 26 percent of Cass County workers, according to the INDWD, are employed in management, business, science and art occupations, which include healthcare jobs — all sectors that more often require at least four years of college education and where jobs come with higher salaries, according to the CICP study.