to Ensure Global Competitiveness
By Pam Goins, CSG Director of Education Policy
Nationally, more than 7,000 students become dropouts every school day. That’s more than 1 million students each year that will not graduate from high school.
Only 27 percent of students complete a postsecondary degree, even though 85 percent of students hold a high school diploma, according to 2010 statistics from the U.S. Department of Education.
That’s not enough to keep America competitive.
Over the next decade, the number of American jobs requiring some postsecondary education will rise to 63 percent, according to research by the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. That means 22 million college graduates will be needed to fill those jobs, but the report, “Help Wanted: Projections of Jobs and Education Requirements Through 2018,” says that goal will not be met with the current population moving toward degree attainment.
The answer, according to a report from the Lumina Foundation for Education, is to grow the number of college graduates each year. To reach that 60 percent goal by 2025, 278,000 new college degrees must be awarded each year, which means an additional 112,000 students must earn degrees each year based on current college attainment levels, according to the report.
“If you do not meet this need, you will not be part of the economic recovery. Not only will you not attract new upper level jobs, you will begin to lose the employers who need these educated people, which are the better jobs in your economy,” said James Applegate, senior vice president for the Lumina Foundation.
Public-private partnerships are one answer to create a college-going culture in families and communities to reach that lofty goal. These partnerships can be large—such as General Electric’s $50 million grants awarded to a variety of education groups in 2009, and the Intel Foundation’s gift of $6 million and the Bayer Foundation’s $1 million for postsecondary training in Pittsburgh.
“We need to help students here succeed, and we need to make sure that the students who do succeed stick around to help the city rebuild,” Mark Reuss, General Motors’ North America president and foundation board member, told The Detroit News.
But large foundations aren’t the only private entities partnering with schools. or small, such as local partnerships between schools and the businesses in their districts. Businesses provide internships or job shadowing opportunities that allow students to explore career opportunities, sponsor specific activities based at the school, offer staff time to speak to students in the classroom and serve as mentors in a career pathway.
As part of the CSG 2011 National Conference & North American Summit in Bellevue, Wash., the Education Policy Task Force will highlight effective business-education collaborative activities that can serve as a catalyst for a culture change that will ensure students reach their goal of college completion and degree attainment.
Don Bennett, executive director of the Washington Higher Education Coordinating Board, and Jane Broom, director of Microsoft’s Puget Sound Community Affairs, will showcase Washington’s efforts to give more students an opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree. One focus will be commitments of The Boeing Company and Microsoft Corporation to pledge $25 million each over the next five years to the new public/private Washington Opportunity Scholarship program and endowment. With matching state contributions, the total offered will be $100 million for scholarships for low- and middle-income students as a first step toward creating a billion dollar endowment by the end of this decade.
The task force will meet at the Microsoft headquarters from 3:30 to 6 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 20. Attendees also will tour Microsoft’s House of the Future and the Envisioning Lab.