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
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.
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.
Turning Planning into Action
The St. Louis region has already made progress on its plan to increase degree completion for first-generation and low-income students: