Anthony P. Carnevale and his Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce have released another report aimed at making the case that the United States needs 20 million more college-educated workers by 2025.
The work of Carnevale and other economists reinforces -- and in many ways has influenced -- the Obama administration's push to have the United States return to the top of international rankings of countries with the largest proportions of citizens with college credentials.
That campaign has been threatened by the country's economic woes, which have forced the federal and state governments to impose or consider cuts in spending on higher education and student aid, and by ever-rising tuitions that have pushed college out of reach for more students and families. The administration's policy approach has also been challenged increasingly by skeptical commentators and policy analysts (many on the right, but some on the left), who cite the large numbers of unemployed bachelor's degree recipients now to question the historical assertion that education is the key to economic success, for individuals and nations.
In their new report, "The Undereducated American," Carnevale and his co-author, Stephen J. Rose, acknowledge that "with many college graduates unsuccessful in finding work in the current economic climate, the temptation to reject postsecondary education as a viable economic option grows stronger, especially among working families for whom college costs are always a stretch." But they aim to use historical data to show that the analysts (and parents of recent graduates who may feel that way) are engaged in short-term thinking.