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Postsecondary Challenges require a Community Solution

Author: Helios Education Foundation

Helios Education Foundation believes firmly in the transformational power of education. From an early literacy foundation established prior to kindergarten, to college and career readiness integrated into the K-12 continuum, to completing a high quality postsecondary certificate or degree - educational excellence is not an option, it is a necessity for our students, our community and our nation.

According to 2013 U.S. Census data, 41.5% of the United States population aged 25-64 currently hold a two or four year postsecondary degree. In the state of Florida, degree attainment by that same age group falls 3.4 percentage points to 38.1%. How prepared is Florida to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s knowledge based, global economy? We know the core skills of effective communication, critical thinking and collaborative work will propel today’s students into tomorrow’s leaders. What additional skills are business looking? Does Florida’s workforce have those skills? What skills are necessary to compete on the global stage? How will the changing composition of the Florida workforce impact business expansion in this state?
By the year 2020, Georgetown University’s Center for Education and the Workforce projects 65% of jobs in Florida will require some form of postsecondary education. Given the current rate of degree attainment, how will institutions of higher education engage students to meet the challenge of postsecondary enrollment and completion? What are some of the challenges faced by students at the postsecondary level that impede completion, particularly by first generation, low income minority students?

Thought leaders such as Florida CAN are addressing this issue and engaging partners throughout the state to establish networks that provide support, mentorship and workforce related opportunities to students in order to meet the need of our state. Institutions of high education are too embracing students holistically, providing a three-pronged approach including financial assistance, educational support assistance and opportunities for social/emotional acclamation.

Another Helios partner, College Success Arizona, is focused on increasing college graduation rates throughout Arizona. They specifically focus on low-income, minority and rural students as the current college enrollment and graduation rates among these students in unacceptably low. By providing scholarships and mentoring services to students and building partnerships with college access programs, College Success Arizona is helping more students achieve a postsecondary degree or certificate.

The challenges are plenty but the solutions are starting to emerge.

Category: Postsecondary Success

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