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State officials want 66 percent of Colorado’s adults to attain a post-secondary education by 2025, helping to ensure their employment in a rapidly changing world.

The state’s ambitious goal for Colorado higher education was unveiled Tuesday. It calls for boosting the number of Coloradans earning post-high school certificates and two-year and four-year degrees by 73,500 over the next eight years.

To do so, the plan — “Colorado Rises: Advancing Education and Talent Development” — outlines four strategies for the state’s colleges and universities: increase credential completion, erase equity gaps between white and minority students, improve student success, and invest in affordability and innovation.

Getting more residents into post-secondary courses is essential for the state to keep pace with an economy based on technology and innovation, said Kim Hunter Reed, executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education. Right now, Colorado is barely keeping up.

The demand for college-educated adults in Colorado is the fifth-highest in the nation. Research from the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce shows that by 2020 nearly 75 percent of jobs in Colorado will require some education beyond high school.

Yet only 55 percent of Colorado adults have a degree or certificate.

“Our goal is clear and more important than ever,” said Hunter Reed. “We must expand access to quality credentials to ensure that more Colorado residents have the skills, training and knowledge they need to succeed in the jobs of today and the future.”

Officials said colleges and universities must work closely with K-12 schools to align courses to ensure students are ready for post-secondary work. Apprenticeships and short-term programs leading to certificates and other credentials will also become important alternatives to the traditional four-year degree.

Not all credentials are equal, educators said. Three-quarters of Colorado’s top jobs require skills in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. Many of those jobs are concentrated in health care, finance and IT professions, the Colorado Rises report said.

Reed and others on Tuesday said the key to reaching the 2025 goal is cutting the achievement gaps among students. The share of Colorado’s white majority population that has earned a credential is more than twice that of Hispanics and Latinos and 1.5 times the share of African-Americans.

The education gap between whites and Hispanics is the second largest in the nation, barely behind California’s, according to Colorado officials.

The Lumina Foundation is finalizing a partnership with Colorado to help close the gap through a two-year $500,000 Talent, Innovation and Equity grant aimed specifically at minority student achievement.

“The objective of Lumina Foundation’s Talent Innovation Equity partnership with states like Colorado is to demonstrate that educational attainment gaps among students of color can be closed,” said Scott Jenkins, a strategy director at Lumina Foundation.

Funding is a big obstacle to hitting the 66 percent goal, officials said. While Colorado is recovering from the 2008 recession and state funding for higher education has increased $150 million from 2012 to today, funding remains lower than it was before the recession.

Colorado has remained in the bottom five states for the past five years in public support for higher education, according to the Colorado Rises report.