Washington Roundtable releases new report, “The Path to 70% Credential Attainment.” Making progress, but not fast enough.

A new report from the Washington Roundtable and Partnership for Learning shows the progress the state is making toward a goal of 70 percent credential attainment. While the attainment rate is increasing, the pace of progress remains slow. The video above makes the point.

We’ve written often about the importance of postsecondary training and education. Confirming national research, analysis by the Washington Roundtable and the Boston Consulting Group established that most of the 740,000 projected job opening in our state in the near future would be filled by workers with postsecondary credentials

The new research from the Roundtable and Partnership for learning reaffirms early findings:

Demand for workers with postsecondary credentials is higher than it has ever been. A credential—such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate—is essential for anyone who wants a job that o ers a good salary and advancement opportunities. This is true for all workers, regardless of zip code, race, income, or gender.


  • Among Washington high school students, the credential attainment rate by age 26 will go from 31% for the high school class of 2006 to an estimated 40% for the high school class of 2015.
  • To reach the 70% credential attainment goal by the high school class of 2030, Washington must more than double the average annual growth rate in credential attainment – going from 0.9% per year to 2%.

The path to 70 percent is clearly charted in this infographic. An improved high school graduation rate may be a precondition, but it has not generated the necessary boost in credential attainment.

  • The high school graduation rate has been improving, moving from 75% for the high school class of 2006 to 82% for the class of 2015. Despite this improvement, the percentage of high school graduates enrolling in postsecondary education has remained stagnant.

And there’s also vital work to be done in closing demographic achievement gaps.

  • Closing race-, income-, and gender-based achievement gaps is essential. Credential attainment for white and Asian students is projected to be two to three times higher than that of Native American, Hispanic, or black students, depending on the subgroup. Also, just 31% of boys are projected to complete a credential by age 26, compared to 47% of girls.

Please read the full report and share it and the highlights with friends, colleagues and policymakers. It provides specific action steps on the path to 70 percent.

We must focus efforts to close achievement gaps and hit nation-leading benchmarks in high school graduation, postsecondary enrollment of high school graduates in programs at two- and four-year institutions, and graduation from those programs. Finally, we must successfully reengage students who fall out of the education pipeline prior to credential attainment.

Reaching our 70% goal will be challenging. Achieving it will require coordinated e orts from all of us—elected officials, educators, employers, community organizations, families, and the students themselves. We look forward to that collaboration, to setting annual goals, pursuing improvement, and measuring progress.

It’s an achievable goal, and one vital to expanding opportunity for Washingtonians and maintaining our state’s economic vitality.