Education Matters is a regional undertaking organized by the community foundations that serve Washington, Scottt, Harrison, Clark and Floyd counties to try to increase the number of working adults in our region who started but never completed some form of post-secondary education – education that extends beyond high school.
Like us, you might be surprised to learn that in Southeast Indiana, only 25% of our workforce has an associate’s, bachelors or professional degree, compared to 38% nationally. Yet one in four of our community’s adult workers has earned some college credits! That’s over 40,000 people in our area! For whatever reason, they started but never completed their post-secondary education. This represents a tremendous amount of untapped potential in our community and our low attainment numbers in this area are being felt across all business and community organizations.
As community foundations, we believe that we can do something to change this statistic.
We realize, like many of you do, that the reasons why a student might begin postsecondary education and not finish are many and varied and that we can’t begin to address the entire spectrum of issues starting with the cradle and ending with the career that might cause a person not to finish once they begin.
What we have elected to concentrate on is a small sliver of the overall issue, those one in four of our adult workers who have some college credits but did not complete their degrees. By focusing on just this slice of the pie, we believe that we may be able to invoke real change in these numbers. We aren’t going to focus on why someone started their post-secondary education but didn’t finish, because we’re much more interested in the fact that they once started and had interest. This population of people who started but didn’t finish their education is where we see the real opportunity to implement immediate changes that can drive our educational attainment numbers up relatively quickly. And doing that will have real impact on our communities.
Success can take many forms. We are not experts on this subject, not by any stretch. But we are committed to learning more and taking strategic steps to move the needle for this population. We think it will be good for our entire region, for our economy, our workforce, and our communities.
We brought together a panel of experts to help guide the discussion including:
We hope that you will take a few moments to view their presentations and discover why Education Matters.