Madeline St. Amour
August 18, 2020
New research shows public colleges have room for improvement when it comes to enrolling displaced workers.
Amid mass layoffs, some workers are pursuing further education — but not many.
A new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research found that for every 100 displaced workers, only one ends up enrolling at a public college.
“That just seems, objectively, quite small,” said Judith Scott-Clayton, an associate professor of economics and education at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “At the very least, there’s a lot of room for improvement here.”
Scott-Clayton is one of the report’s co-authors, along with Veronica Minaya, also of Teachers College, and Brendan Moore, of Stanford University.
The report used data from 2002 to 2009 in Ohio to see how mass layoffs impacted enrollment at two- and four-year public colleges. While the findings were a statistically significant positive relationship of about one percentage point, that isn’t the best colleges could hope for, Scott-Clayton said.
These findings are even more relevant now, she said, as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a national recession and mass unemployment.