El Paso ranks near bottom of national study for degreed adults

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 - 9:49pm

A recent report done by the Lumina Foundation reveals only 28.97% of working El Pasoans have some sort of college degree.

"The fact that El Paso ranks so low in this study is not surprising," said Dr. Tom Fullerton, economics professor at UTEP.

Experts say it's hurting our economy.

According to a study done by UTEP, the education would increase personal income some $1.2 billion for people in the Sun City.

Dr. Fullerton argues El Paso's workers aren't currently fit for the future workforce.

"This is a real problem in terms of the modern economy because the modern US economy is information and services oriented," said Fullerton.

He argues part of the solution is to improve graduation rates in high schools first.

Some companies here locally mostly only hire applicants with a degree in hand.

"We have great success with hiring college graduates," said Nancy Laster.

Laster owns a marketing and advertising agency in El Paso. She's been a business owner for almost 33 years and says there are many job opportunities at her company for those with a degree.

"We love to hire local. We want to keep it in El Paso," she said.

With higher education, normally comes higher pay. Dr. Fullerton argues when you make make more, you tend to spend more, ultimately keeping more of your dollars here in El Paso.

"It would be a much better place because we'd have more educated people, who know what they're doing," said Oskar Yee.

For more information on the Lumina Foundation's study, visit http://www.luminafoundation.org/publications/A_stronger_nation_through_higher_education-2013.pdf

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