A new study conducted by West Virginia University for the Higher Education Policy Commission shows that more students are graduating from public higher education institutions and more college graduates are employed in West Virginia.
The study, “From Higher Education to Work in West Virginia, 2014” shows that 2,500 more graduates were working in the state in 2014 than in 2013. Researchers attribute the increase in employment to an increase in available graduates for the workforce.
“The Commission has led a concerted effort to graduate more students from West Virginia’s colleges and universities since 2013,” said study co-author John Deskins, director of the WVU Bureau of Business and Economic Research, which operates in the College of Business and Economics. “As a result of having more graduates in West Virginia to choose from, some 2,500 more students were working in the state. That represents nearly a 5 percent increase in the number of graduates working in West Virginia compared to 2013 and is almost 10 percent higher than in 2010.”
The study indicates that of the 124,358 students who graduated from public colleges and universities in West Virginia over the last decade, 58,730 were working in West Virginia in 2014. That’s a work participation rate of 47.2 percent.
“What the data tell us is that there are economic benefits of graduating more people to West Virginia’s economy,” said Dr. Eric Bowen, co-author of the study, “even if a portion of them leave the state.”
In-state students were far more likely to work in the state after graduation than out-of-state students, with nearly 62 percent of in-state students employed in West Virginia.