A recent report released by the Center for Rural Strategies says that Wilkes County has seen an increase in the percentage of college graduates. The report was prepared by Bill Bishop and Roberto Gallardo. In 1970, 3.8 percent of those over 25 years of age had college degrees in Wilkes County. By 2010, that number had increased to 12.3 percent of adults here completing college. The number of adults in the United States with college degrees has nearly tripled since 1970. In Wilkes County, 4.8 percent of adults had some college in 1970, rising to 27.7 percent in 2010. The North Carolina average in 2010 was 35.0 percent. Overall, the recent trends show that “rural people have responded to the demand for increased job skills by the increasing their post secondary education.” But the problem of keeping college graduates in rural America is a national issue. Missouri economist Stallmann said, “If there are fewer jobs demanding college degrees in a community, there are likely to be fewer college graduates.” Stallmann said — young people leave to gain higher education, and they don’t come back after college, because there aren’t jobs that demand such education, and their absence diminishes the chances that more of these kinds of jobs will be created…and that’s the bad news. The good news is: we have caught up in every other measure of education.