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Ready to Double Down??

Check out the new report put out at the end of June by our friends Carnevale and Rose at the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, The Undereducated American. These are the guys that did the great study last year that shows that 67% of the jobs in the State of Washington will require a post-secondary credential by 2018.

Today’s report is stark. They say again―and even louder than last year―that the U.S. better wake up and start educating its young people. Vastly more need some form of college degree or career credential, and as far as I know, South Seattle and South King County are still part of the U.S., and boy do we have a lot of work to do! Not only is our country’s under education hurting the individuals left behind, it is also the driver of income inequality. Poverty and education advocates take note―we have a common agenda and our region is a poster child for both problems. Oh yeah, and then there is also the small matter of the quality of the region’s future workforce.

Carnevale says that 42% of US 25-34 yr olds have college degrees, which he says is way too low. In our Road Map area when we look at our area’s recent high school grads, we are only at 24% attainment for all types of post secondary credentials. Hello??? Is this not ridiculous? We can change this quickly if we make it a regional focus, which the Road Map Project is doing.

We are just now completing the College Bound Scholarship sign-up drive where, for the first time, the region worked together―with the College Success Foundation in the lead―to sign up the eligible kids for the State’s wonderful College Bound Scholarship opportunity. In years past, many schools and a couple of districts made this a priority, but this time the whole region pulled together—a great example of the potential for collective impact. Districts worked hard, so did community organizations and the region’s mayors. The numbers, as of today, show that as a region, we have signed up over 84% of the eligible students. Next year we will do even better! Starting this fall, we will be doubling down on the entering high school seniors. We need these kids to know that they can and should go to college of some type.

Senior year should be a launch year, not a lost year. Governor Gregoire said that during the last legislative session, and she is correct. Students; you have to take the right courses.. Get yourself ready for college-level work. Don’t slack off. Amp it up! The effort will pay off in short order. Adults; if you work with high school students, we have heavy lifting to do. Help set course schedules that really help kids position themselves for success, help students with college applications and federal financial aid forms. If it takes a village to raise a child, it certainly takes a focused region to double the number of its children on-track for a brighter future.

Seriously, how can we not do this in the areas of King County where the most kids live and go to school—the county which is proudly home to the most innovative knowledge-intensive companies in the world? Let’s double down!