Washington, D.C., Sept. 23, 2010—Strengthening the U.S. economy, enhancing individual human capital, and increasing civic engagement depends on a dramatic increase in the number and diversity of those successfully completing postsecondary education with a high-quality degree or credential. Given today’s knowledge-based economy, higher education is not only advantageous, but in fact necessary to meet workforce and societal needs in the coming decade. However, only about one-half of all Americans have such a credential, with large and troubling disparities in attainment between racial, ethnic, and income groups.
In response to ensuring more Americans attain high-quality postsecondary credentials, the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) launched this week its “Coalition for College Completion” campaign, which brings together influential individuals from the business, civil rights, and youth advocacy/mobilization sectors that have exercised leadership in the areas of education and/or workforce readiness and are committed to the goal of college completion as a key priority for our nation. The campaign will be recognized during the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), held Sept. 21-23 in New York City, as a “Commitment to Action,” which is a unique feature of CGI that translates good ideas into new, specific, and measurable actions.
Additionally, the Coalition for College Completion will work to elevate the college completion issue while seeking to increase public and political will for the postsecondary completion agenda—at the national, state, and regional levels. IHEP will manage all of the campaign’s activities, which will include well-facilitated discussions among coalition members on what college completion means to their respective constituents. Conversations will lead to an overarching completion strategy that each sector can tailor and share with their constituent/member base. These efforts are intended to help increase knowledge and support for college completion among all sectors, which can ultimately spur workforce advancement and development in key areas.
"Given the enormity of this issue and the need for states and colleges to change policies and practices to achieve our national completion goals, it is imperative that organizations committed to economic productivity and social engagement be mobilized around postsecondary success,” said IHEP President Michelle Asha Cooper, Ph.D. “Even more, there must be a channel by which such groups—the impetus for launching our joint initiative—can communicate with one another, with higher education, and ultimately with the policymaking community around the needs of their constituents as it relates to postsecondary education, training, and workforce development.”
The Coalition for College Completion campaign is being supported by the Ford Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Lumina Foundation for Education.