May 20, 2024

PASSHE Universities Graduate Nearly 9,000 Students Prepared for Business, Education, Health Care, Protective Services and STEM Jobs

Contact: Kevin Hensil,

PASSHE is helping to build the robust workforce that Pennsylvania needs
73% of the nearly 12,000 total projected spring graduates earn credentials that prepare them for jobs with worker shortages
PASSHE serves more in-state students than any four-year college or university in Pennsylvania

Harrisburg, PA – As part of its commitment to prepare students for in-demand careers, Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) projects nearly 9,000 graduates—73% of the 12,000 total projected spring graduates—will earn degrees or certificates in business, education, health care, psychology, protective services, and STEM programs—all career fields with worker shortages.

In addition to the nearly 12,000 projected graduates this spring, a total of nearly 8,000 students graduated following the Summer and Fall 2023 and Winter 2024 semesters.

“This is a great moment for these tremendous students and for Pennsylvania’s workforce,” said PASSHE Chancellor Dan Greenstein. “These graduates are educated and ready to enter jobs with worker shortages, from hospitals and classrooms to law enforcement, growing businesses and the high-tech STEM economy.”

“As state-owned public universities, we have a responsibility to help build the robust workforce that Pennsylvania needs. These graduates exemplify that students are overwhelmingly choosing majors to get jobs in high demand, and they are ready to start rewarding careers and help drive Pennsylvania’s economy.”

College-to-Career Path

PASSHE’s 10 state-owned universities coordinate with regional employers to align their academic programs with local workforce needs and create a college-to-career path that benefits students and employers.

By emphasizing career-aligned programs, PASSHE universities have increased the number of degree and certificate graduates in high-growth job fields over the past decade, despite the enrollment challenges higher education is facing across the country.

The three most enrolled majors at State System universities are business, education and health care.

“Pennsylvanian employers—large and small—need talented people with a comprehensive education and specific skills to be problem solvers, innovative thinkers and ambitious doers, so they can be successful in a competitive marketplace,” said Greenstein. “For these graduates, the combination of their knowledge, passion and dedication will help them to have success, strengthen the commonwealth’s economy and create sustaining jobs.”

With 82,000 students—nearly 90% of whom are from Pennsylvania—PASSHE universities serve more in-state students than any four-year college or university in Pennsylvania. A strong majority of State System university graduates stay in the commonwealth to live, build careers and support their communities.

Worker Shortages

Many employers in Pennsylvania are struggling to hire qualified candidates for open jobs. In the health-care sector alone, Pennsylvania’s rural hospitals reported job vacancy rates last year of 26% for direct-care registered nurses and 28% for nursing support positions. Pennsylvania is expected to have the largest shortfall of registered nurses nationally by 2026, according to industry groups.

School districts in Pennsylvania are dealing with a growing shortage of teachers in the classroom and a need for more educators to enter the profession. PASSHE is a major provider of new teachers, with nearly 2,000 education majors graduating from State System universities this year to help with the teacher shortage.

“Higher education opens doors of opportunity, whether students earn a degree to launch a career or complete short programs to update their skills to get a raise or promotion,” said Greenstein. “We are proud of all our graduates in every major and commend everyone who supported them in earning their degree. Their hard work is an investment in themselves—and it will benefit communities throughout Pennsylvania for decades to come.”

There are more than 640,000 State System graduates living in Pennsylvania.