New Jersey ranks sixth in the nation in the number of residents with at least a two-year college degree, according to a report released by the Lumina Foundation today.

But all states still have a way to go to reach the goal of having at least 60 percent of all adults having at least some post-secondary degree by 2025 in order to meet expected job demands.

In 2008 almost 45 percent of New Jersey residents ages 25 to 64 had a college degree according to the report, which uses Census Bureau information. That breaks down to 7 percent with associate’s degrees, 24 percent with bachelor’s degrees, and almost 14 percent with graduate or professional degrees.

Another 18 percent of adults have some college, but no degree, and they are seen as a good target for college completion. They account for about 857,000 residents, and if just 5,624 of them could obtain a degree each year, the state would meet the 60 percent goal by 2025.

Dewayne Matthews, vice president of public policy and strategy at  Lumina, said in order to achieve that goal, the states need to do three things:

 1: Make sure more high school students graduate and are prepared for post-secondary training.

2: Make sure students attending college actually graduate.

3. Make sure all students who want to attend college get the services they need to make it a reality.

Anthony Carnevale, director of the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, said health care fields will likely remain among the most popular for jobs.

“That’s the closest to a sure thing,” he said during a teleconference on the report.

Improving remedial education at the college level is considered vital to helping students complete their programs.

Students were also warned to think careful before spending a lot of money on a certificate program that will only get them an entry level job.

The five states ahead of New Jersey in college degrees are Massachusetts with 49.6 percent, then Connecticut, Colorado, North Dakota, and Minnesota.

Click here to see the full report.


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