The Case for Businesses to Invest in Post-Secondary Credentials

This paper outlines the changes in the demographics and business environment in the U.S. that are increasing the demand for more skilled, higher educated workers. The literature around the returns to education is then reviewed, looking specifically for evidence of returns to businesses from investing in sub-baccalaureate post-secondary credentials. Four benefits to businesses from investing are explored: (1) increased labor productivity, (2) improved selection and retention, (3) expanding markets, and (4)improved communities. For each of the four arguments, there is substantial evidence that increasing educational attainment or training produces positive outcomes. However, much of the evidence pertains to baccalaureate degrees relative to high school diplomas; there is scant evidence focusing specifically on sub-baccalaureate post-secondary credentials.