Economist: Lack of postsecondary education will hurt US economy

SCOTTSDALE – What’s the biggest threat to the future of the United States economy? Former White House economic advisor Todd Buchholz said it’s not global warming or the debt – it’s the lack of postsecondary education.

“If you don’t have at least a high school education in this globalized economy, you are competing with the last peasant in Mongolia who yoked a yak to a plow,” Buchholz said. “You’re probably competing against the yak.”

Buchholz spoke at the Salt River Project Economic Forecast 2018 event last week.

Maria Harper-Marinick, chancellor of the Maricopa County Community College District, said while people need high school diplomas, they’re no longer sufficient.

“There are not only specific skills, technical skills required, but there is an expectation that someone knows how to think critically and someone knows how to work in teams, and someone knows how to communicate and write and speak,” she said. “(These are) many, many skills that would develop through access to postsecondary education.”

Chris Camacho, the president and CEO of the Greater Phoenix Economic Council, agreed education is crucial to teaching the next generation of innovators.

“Focusing on talent and innovation and really the disposition of how we educate our citizens is going to lead to dramatic economic performance,” Camacho said.