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More Highly Qualified Workers are Needed to Grow Ohio’s Economy

Feb 27, 2019

A recently released 2019 economic outlook for central Ohio forecasts an added 13,000 jobs in the region this year. But it also flagged one specific weakness: a lack of highly qualified workers.

According to Regionomics owner and economic forecast guru Bill LaFayette, central Ohio’s job growth is slowing down after a decade of gains due to the lack of qualified workers. While the percentage of Columbus residents who hold a college degree is higher than the national average, it is lower than other metros such as Austin, Boston and Seattle.

LaFayette says there should be a concentrated effort to increase the number of people with degrees or technical credentials by making programs accessible and affordable to a broad audience.

WGU Ohio’s 21st century model was established for that very purpose – to make higher education more accessible and affordable for everyone.

Created through an agreement between the state of Ohio and nonprofit, accredited Western Governors University, WGU Ohio offers bachelor's and master's degrees in high-demand career fields critical to the state's economy. More than 60 programs relevant to these in-demand jobs are offered through WGU’s four colleges: Business, Teachers, Information Technology and Health Professions (including nursing). According to LaFayette’s forecast, education and healthcare will see significant job growth in 2019.

Courses are all online, so students who work full time or are raising families can access their coursework from anywhere and at any time of day. And at about $7,000 a year, WGU’s average cost of tuition is about half of other colleges and universities.

WGU Ohio will play a key role in developing the skilled workforce that Ohio needs. The prosperity of our economy depends on it, and we look forward to helping fill Ohio’s talent gap one student at a time.

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