Where will we find the brains?

A recently published report on the number of college graduates available to fill jobs in California is featured in today’s SF Chronicle. Although more and more of the jobs in the state require at least a bachelor’s degree, California students are not finishing college or going on to graduate school at the rate required to keep the high tech and other information-based industries growing. It’s common knowledge that minority students are less likely to complete high school and go on to higher education than other California students. Civic groups need to work with educators to encourage minority students to take a greater interest in their communities and engage in volunteer work. This is one of the best ways to spark self esteem and let young people realize how many opportunities there are in our society. Otherwise the innovation and growth that is needed will come from overseas students and workers, not a bad thing in itself, as Thomas Friedman points out, but not a permanent solution to California’s demand for educated workers. Let’s encourage our own kids to forge the way toward a lively high-tech future.

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