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August 22, 2013

A well-educated workforce is directly linked to economic prosperity, according to a new report by the Economic Policy Institute.

The best way for states to foster a productive economy is to invest in education to create a stronger workforce, which in turn will increase the median wage, the report says.

Noah Berger, president of the Mass Budget and Policy Center, said tax policy strategies are shortsighted solutions for economic improvement.

“There’s no other strategy that can take a state with a poorly educated workforce and through some combination of subsidies or regulations or tax policies magically make that a high wage economy,” Berger said. “The high wage economy are those that have long-term strength in education.”

Massachusetts leads the country by having some of the highest paid and most educated workers in the country, but Berger said it’s not a reason for complacency.

“We lead the country with about 46 percent of our workers with a college degree but that means over half of them don’t have a college degree and looking into the future-- in 20 or 30 years, I think it’s important to ask what would our economy look like if instead of 46 percent with a college degree, it became 56, or 66 or 70 percent,” Berger said.

The report recommended states increase the educational attainment of their population by working to slow the growth of college tuition, increase financial aid, invest in quality K-12 education, and offer preschool program.

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