Why It Matters


By 2025, 68% of all Iowa jobs will require at least some college; a college diploma/certificate, an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or advanced degree (Iowa: Education and Workforce Trends through 2025, Carnevale et. al, 2015).

According to census data, the college completion rate for Ottumwa residents is currently 28% of adults age 25 and older. There is a significant gap between the type of work to be done in the future and a workforce who are qualified for that work.

Further, post-secondary attainment can have a significant impact on social issues. Did you know:

  • An increase of 1%  in degree attainment leads to a 2% increase in a community’s economic growth
  • People with an associates degree have up 33% more lifetime earning power than

    those with only a high school diploma

  • Well educated workforce attracts high paying employers
  • Higher annual wages = Higher dollar purchases for assets = Higher property taxes

But the benefits of more residents with post-secondary education aren’t just financial. As post-secondary attainment increases in a community, there is:

  • Increased civic participation, including volunteer work, voting, and blood donation
  • A decrease in unemployment rates
  • Decreased reliance on public assistance programs
  • Lower smoking rates, more positive perceptions of personal health
  • A reduction in crime and incarceration rates