Labour Market Relevance and Outcomes of Higher Education in Four US States

Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington

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Across OECD countries, higher education graduates enjoy higher employment rates and earnings than workers with only an upper secondary qualification. However, not all graduates find jobs that make full use of their skills and help them launch rewarding careers, and employers in some economic sectors point to a lack of qualified graduates. Policy makers are concerned about the current alignment of higher education systems to labour markets, and are increasingly uneasy about the future of work and the resilience of higher education systems in uncertain economic times. This report, which focuses on four US states – Ohio, Texas, Virginia and Washington – is the third of a series of country-specific reviews conducted as part of the OECD project on the labour market relevance and outcomes of higher education. The report offers a comprehensive review of graduate outcomes and policies supporting alignment between higher education and the labour market in the four participating states in 2018-19, an overview of the US labour market and higher education context, and a range of policy examples from across OECD jurisdictions to help improve the alignment of higher education and the labour market.


Reader’s guide

The term “higher education” in this report includes Levels 4 through 8 of the 2011 International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2012[1]). The correspondence between US and international higher education levels and terminology is provided in . The terms “higher education” and “post-secondary education” are used interchangeably in the report, as is commonly done in the United States.


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