January 26, 2001
CONTACT: Jeanne Oswald
(609) 292-4310

Commission Report Sees Need for More High-Tech Grads

New Jersey's colleges and universities must produce more graduates in high-tech fields in order to meet the demand for skilled workers needed by the state's telecommunications, pharmaceutical, and other high-tech industries.

The Commission on Higher Education's Fifth Annual Systemwide Accountability Report demonstrates that the overall number of certificates and degrees in high-tech-related disciplines increased since 1989, but growth has not kept pace with the escalating demand for graduates at all levels in computer science, engineering, communications technology, life, health, and physical sciences, and mathematics.

The report finds women underrepresented in all high-tech fields except the life and health sciences. Blacks and Hispanics are underrepresented in many high-tech fields, especially at the graduate degree levels. Conversely, nonresident aliens (noncitizens in the country on a visa or temporary basis) account for a disproportionate percentage of high-tech graduates.

"New Jersey's continued economic prosperity is dependent upon a strong workforce, and this report highlights a critical need for high-tech graduates that must be addressed at all levels of the education system - by the K-12 community, the colleges and universities, and the state," said James E. Sulton, Jr., executive director of the Commission.

The Commission's annual accountability report is intended to provide policy makers, students and parents, employers, and taxpayers with valuable information about the state's system of 56 public and independent colleges and universities. It complements institutional accountability reports and performance funding measures which gauge the progress of the state's public higher education institutions.

Other key findings from the Commission's annual systemwide report include:

"The systemwide accountability report highlights progress in higher education and underscores the critical importance of ongoing investment to keep New Jersey's colleges and universities competitive and strong, while enhancing student access and affordability," said Dr. Sulton.

Following its discussion today, the Commission will consider the Fifth Annual Systemwide Accountability Report for adoption in late February. The draft report is available by calling the Commission's office at 609-292-4310, and it will be posted on the Commission's website at in early February.

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