Gateway 6: Access to Education and Training for Adults

High school graduates who have access to affordable colleges or technical schools can get the knowledge and skills to become productive members of the workforce with financially successful careers.

Older workers or immigrants who have access to training – either to update their skills or to learn English – will also enjoy more productive careers.

A worker who attains a certificate or degree beyond high school can expect to earn a significantly higher income, with actual earnings on average rising with each stage of education.

Workers with a bachelor’s degree or better are the most likely to earn above a self-sufficient income, setting the stage for home ownership and accumulation of other assets that help secure a place in the cycle of opportunity.

A worker who only graduates from high school will have a hard time earning a self-sufficient income. That puts home ownership out of reach for most workers and makes it difficult to secure a place in the cycle of opportunity.

Workers without a college degree or certificate are also more likely to need public or private assistance at some point in their lifetime and will contribute less in taxes.

Indicator 1: Leaks along Colorado’s educational pipeline
Those who leak out of the pipeline before completing college are less likely to enjoy a life of opportunity.

Indicator 2: Low-income and minority students attending college
The rate at which different economic classes and races attend college is a good indicator of their future status within the Cycle of Opportunity.

Indicator 3: College degrees awarded by race and ethnicity
A worker’s future earnings are most directly related to the type of degree obtained.

Indicator 4: Postsecondary affordability
Cost is the single largest barrier to a postsecondary education for students from low-income families.

Indicator 5: Access to adult basic education and English as a second language (ESL) services
Adult education can provide many workers and their families, including those who don’t speak English, a second chance to enter the Cycle of Opportunity.

Read the whole chapter on Gateway 6: Access to Education and Training for Adults in Colorado: The State of Opportunity 2002 report2005 report