PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP)- A new study released by the personal finance website wallethub.com shows West Virginia as one of the least educated states in the United States. The study cross-examines several aspects of education, including the percentage of people with associate’s and bachelor’s degrees, where West Virginia ranked 50th.
West Virginia University at Parkersburg President Dr. Chris Gilmer says there’s likely a correlation between the type of economy West Virginia has and why the amount of two and four year degrees are so low.
He says states that rely heavily on natural resources or agriculture and lack a large urban center often lag behind in degree attainment, much like West Virginia.
Gilmer says there are some high paying entry level jobs available in West Virginia for those with high school educations, but he says even a one-year certificate can do a lot for a career.
“And so what we’re trying to do, is convince the people of West Virginia that even if you graduate from high school job ready and you can go into a high paying job in the oil and gas industry or something of that nature, what that’s really preparing you for is an entry level job. And then you need to think what’s going to happen when you want to be a supervisor,” said Gilmer.
Gilmer is part of a group of higher education officials working to get 60% of West Virginians a college education by 2030 called West Virginia’s Climb.
“So many of the jobs that are coming into the economy now are jobs that you have to have a higher education for,” said Gilmer.
Despite the Wallet Hub study, Gilmer says WVUP’s spring enrollment is up 9% from last spring.