It’s no secret that countless jobs go unfilled in South Carolina and across America every day. We can offer every tax break and infrastructure improvement imaginable and it won’t matter if skilled, motivated people aren’t there, too. But if they are, we can compete and win. The BMWs and Boeings of the world are Exhibit A, but the same story plays out in every community across the Palmetto State. A well-educated South Carolina workforce can do just that: work and win.
That work pays off, if you’re a college graduate. South Carolina’s college graduates will earn almost $800,000 more than a high school graduate over their lifetimes. And those dropouts? They’ll earn $1.2 million less than a college graduate.
Nearly 60% of all jobs in South Carolina require a post-secondary degree or certificate. And job opportunities in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) are growing almost twice as fast as in other fields.
Those STEM jobs require skills and training that our state’s robust technical college system can often provide, but students need the basics before they even get there. That’s true for our four-year colleges, too.
Not getting a good education often leads to lifelong struggles. Someone who doesn’t finish high school is twice as likely to live in poverty as a high school graduate, and six times more likely than a college graduate.
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An educated citizen:
Is a more active and engaged citizen.
A college graduate is 1.5 times more likely to vote, 2.5 times more likely to volunteer, and twice as likely to engage in charitable giving than someone with only a high school diploma.
Leads a longer, healthier and more productive life.
Study after study shows that educational attainment is directly tied to increases in life expectancy, reduced burdens due to illness, decreases in risky health behavior and to overall increases in healthy living. Want to live longer? Get an education!
Is much more likely to stay out of trouble.
Two-thirds of America’s state inmates are high school dropouts. And in South Carolina, a 5% increase in male high school graduation would save the criminal justice system $431 million a year.
That’s a powerful equation