Nine GSI member businesses teamed up with GSI to create an employer-led pilot that provides access to their 9,661 employees to learn more about their education level, post-secondary interests and the barriers they may face when completing their post-secondary aspirations. A survey distributed by seven of the nine companies provided a base of 5,919 employees resulting in over 2,122 responses.
Of the seven companies participating in the survey, there are 741 adults with some college experience or a high-level certificate, but less than a 4-year degree. An additional 125 of these employees have no college or apprenticeship experience. Over half (56%) of those surveyed want to achieve a higher level of post-secondary attainment and most understand what it takes to further their education. Financial assistance, flexibility in time and schedule, and individualized planning could be the difference between those completing and those not able to obtain some form of post-secondary credentialing.
As you read through the survey results, look for the positive responses, intimate knowledge about the challenges, and the high degree of interest in these employees to provide themselves and their families with something greater in their education aspirations. We are able to develop a deeper understanding of the opportunities a business-led action might address with a pilot program for 700 working adults. If 56% of the 74,000 working adults in Spokane County with some college but no degree also wanted to achieve a higher level of post-secondary attainment, this would equate to 41,440 adults with post-secondary aspirations. This promises to be the tipping point for a region developing a skilled and highly educated workforce, which is part of what will make the Spokane region an even more valuable place to live and do business in the future.