Businesses have a need for skilled, well-educated employees.
For the St. Louis region to be competitive, we must emphasize the importance of post-secondary education. We need to make sure students are prepared for training programs, job readiness programs, and our colleges and universities.” — Kathy Osborn Executive Director, The Regional Business Council
Why Degree Completion Is Important
What It Takes to Succeed
Research has identified six components to helping students prepare for and succeed in college.
It's important to note that academic success and the ability to persist through the college access pipeline rely heavily on students developing "social-emotional" skills. These are skills such as being able to navigate risk and opportunity, goal setting, communication, collaborative problem solving and responsible decision-making, in addition to being able to demonstrate broader attributes like connectedness with their community.
In the next decade, 90% of all jobs will require education beyond high school, yet only 25% of the population earns a four-year college degree. Students admitted to quality trade and technical colleges need significant academic preparation in math, science and literacy. The workplace of the future will require academically prepared individuals with postsecondary degrees, whether the employee is a technician or a physician."
— Stan Shoun
President, Ranken Technical College
An Action Plan for St. Louis
In 2010-2011, nearly 70 higher education professionals, K-12 educators, guidance counselors, service providers, business leaders and funders came together to develop a community-focused plan to increase the proportion of adults with a college degree to 50% by 2020.
The St. Louis region’s community plan includes 11 strategies organized around the components that research shows are critical to helping low-income and first-generation students succeed in completing a post-secondary education. The executive summary outlines the strategies.
Where We Stand
The St. Louis region can only grow if we have a talented workforce to meet the demand for employees with technical skills and problem-solving abilities. We need all students to make a plan for continuing their education beyond high school — and we need the resources in place to support them every step of the way.” — Ward Klein Chief Executive Officer, Energizer Holdings, Inc.
and Chair of St. Louis Civic Progress Education Committee
The St. Louis metropolitan area had the largest percentage point increase in postsecondary degree completion in the country between 2007 and 2010. As of 2010, 37.8 % of adults 25-and-older have a postsecondary degree.
However, African American degree attainment has not kept pace with the population overall, and disparities exist within the St. Louis region, with lesser degree attainment in North St. Louis City, North St. Louis County and Lincoln/Warren/Franklin counties.
Completion of the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid that is required for most financial aid, is up 44.5 %.
There are many barriers students face in trying to access education beyond high school.
Guidance counselors and college access programs are essential to students navigating college for the first time in their family.