Certificates in Oregon: A Model to Jump-start or Reboot Careers

Postsecondary credential attainment can serve as a low-cost route to economic opportunity. This report from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce examines the impact of postsecondary credential attainment on workers’ outcomes in Oregon. The report draws on Oregon administrative data to examine the earnings of workers before, during and after they complete a certificate program. Some key findings from the report include:

  • Younger certificate holders increase their earnings dramatically as they enter the workforce, build their skills, and gain work experience;
  • Older certificate holders experience a sharp decline in earnings followed by a gradual rebound as they return toward, if not always reach, their previous level of employment and earnings;
  • Completing a community college certificate typically boosts workers’ overall earnings by almost $5,000 or 19 percent, compared to their previous wages; and
  • For certificate recipients as for degree holders, the choice of field of study is an import decision that influences future earnings.
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June 2018