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Chamber Executive Article Archive

Winning the Workforce Race
Boosting Postsecondary Attainment and Degree Completion

by Multiple Authors

Chambers of commerce across the country are working to boost postsecondary education attainment in order to address skills gaps and meet workforce needs. By 2020, two-thirds of all jobs will require a postsecondary credential. Attracting, retaining, and nurturing talent is essential to winning the workforce race.

The following chambers1 have sprinted out of the blocks and are racing to ensure a brighter economic future by building coalitions, driving industry relevance, showcasing career paths and promoting postsecondary achievement.

Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce
Launched a data-driven initiative to develop career pathways and incentives to meet the region’s workforce needs in five high-demand industries: aerospace, advanced manufacturing, logistics and distribution, business services, and bio-science and health care. Connected with more than 900 teachers to increase industry relevance in academic curriculum related to these expanding career fields.

Detroit Regional Chamber
Established the Detroit Scholarship Fund to provide a tuition-free path to an associate’s degree or technical certificate at one of five partnering community colleges for 2016 high school graduates in Detroit. The Chamber’s goal is to serve at least 1,000 freshmen a year and establish Detroit as the largest city in America to offer all of its graduates a path to a postsecondary degree.

Greater Spokane Incorporated
Developed degree completion initiative targeting the 74,000 working adults in Spokane County who have earned some college credit but not a degree. The initiative encourages employers to upskill their employees and works with higher education institutions to re-engage the adult population.

San Antonio Chamber of Commerce
Expanded the industry-led SA Works! program to boost experiential learning at all levels. Hosted Job Shadow Day for 1,700 middle school and high school students with 59 employers in the city to build industry relevance and showcase career paths. Recruited 40 employers to host 150 teachers for an externship program to create experiential learning opportunities.

St. Louis Regional Chamber
Launched an initiative to move St. Louis into the top 10 of college attainment among the nation’s largest metropolitan areas by increasing the number of residents with college credentials by 75,000. Targeted the region’s 380,000 working adults with some college but no degree by creating the Degrees that Work Employer Toolkit to help employers encourage employees to seek higher education.
1 2015/16 ACCE Award for Education Attainment winners. Learn more at www.acce.org/ead

Making Progress on Postsecondary Attainment
Lumina Foundation’s annual A Stronger Nation report tracks postsecondary attainment rates across the nation, by state and in the 100 largest metropolitan regions. Learn more online at www.luminafoundation.org/stronger_nation

Image 1
Education Attainment in the United States (ages 25–64)
Image 2
http://strongernation.luminafoundation.org/report/2016/
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, 2014 American Community Surveyd
Metro-Areas Leading the Way
Of the 25 most populous metropolitan regions in the continental U.S., the top 10 metros ranked by degree attainment are:
  1. Washington DC/Arlington-Alexandria, VA—55.7%
  2. Boston-Cambridge-Newton, MA—55.1%
  3. San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA—54.0%
  4. Minneapolis-St. Paul-Bloomington, MN—52.0%
  5. Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA—49.5%
  6. Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO—49.0%
  7. New York, NY/Newark-Jersey City, NJ—47.0%
  8. Pittsburgh, PA—46.1%
  9. Baltimore-Columbia-Towson, MD—46.0%
  10. San Diego-Carlsbad, CA—45.3%
 

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Boosting Postsecondary Attainment and Degree Completion
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