The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) strongly supports President Obama’s call for policies to increase job opportunities, support basic research, reform immigration, and expand access to education. In his 2012 State of the Union message, the president indicated his support for strategic investments to spur economic recovery while also streamlining government.
The president emphasized innovation, saying, “Innovation also demands basic research. Today, the discoveries taking place in our federally financed labs and universities could lead to new treatments that kill cancer cells but leave healthy ones untouched…Don’t gut these investments in our budget. Don’t let other countries win the race for the future. Support the same kind of research and innovation that led to the computer chip and the Internet; to new American jobs and new American industries.” This commitment to scientific discovery is a crucial part of building a stronger American economy.
In order to continue the research President Obama mentioned, we must invest in education at all levels or we will lack the talented workforce that will drive innovation in the future. The president said, “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.”
Many of the creators and innovators these companies seek will be trained in our graduate schools. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that by 2018 more jobs will require people with graduate degrees, specifically an 18% increase in jobs requiring a master’s degree and a 17% increase for people with doctoral degrees.
It is vital, given workforce needs, that careers and the requisite skills needed to pursue those careers are clearly shared with students throughout the education pipeline. To that end, the Commission on Pathways through Graduate School and into Careers was launched jointly by CGS and Educational Testing Service last year. The Commission’s report, which will be released in April, will offer concrete recommendations for universities, business leaders, and policymakers designed to address these challenges and ensure America has the highly skilled talent needed.
We also applaud President Obama’s call to retain international students who study in the U.S. but who face challenges when they wish to remain and work after graduation. About 40% of international students studying at our colleges and universities are pursuing graduate degrees and it is in our collective best interest to permit those who want to stay and contribute to our economy following completion of their degrees to do so.
We look forward to working with the Administration to ensure that U.S. graduate schools can continue their vital role in ensuring our populace is creative, innovative, and ready to meet the challenges of the 21st century global economy.
The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 92% of the doctoral degrees and 77% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.
* Based on data from the 2010 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees