Creating a College-Going Culture to Compete Globally

Nationally, more than 7,000 students become dropouts every school day. That’s more than 1 million students each year who 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.

“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 for Education. The Lumina Foundation believes the U.S. must grow the number of college graduates each year.

Public-private partnerships are one answer to create a college-going culture in families and communities to reach that lofty goal.

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.