An innovative approach to education opens pathways in Colorado

Castle Rock, Colorado, is one of the fastest growing cities in the state, with 19.5-percent growth in the past six years. Previously, 80 percent of residents commuted outside the city for work; however, citizens in Castle Rock and greater Douglas County, Colorado, have a newfound commitment to transform the city into a standalone community that offers residents an abundance of career opportunities.

In response, Arapahoe Community College (ACC), the town of Castle Rock, Castle Rock Economic Development Council, Colorado State University (CSU), and the Douglas County School District (DCSD) formed a joint venture to change the educational landscape for local students and the surrounding community. The alliance is also serving as a national model for communities seeking to create a collaborative higher-ed hub that builds a local talent pipeline and drives regional and state-wide economic growth.

Creating a collaborative higher-ed hub

When it opens this fall, the Arapahoe Community College Sturm Collaboration Campus will offer learners a seamless transition from high school diploma to associate degree to bachelor’s degree to career, with the goal of having multiple on- and off-ramps along the way.…Read More

We need to support foster youth in higher ed

Last month was National Foster Care Month, a time to highlight the role each of us can play in enhancing the lives of children and youth in foster care. It’s a sobering fact to think that 400,000 children and youth are in foster care at any given time; in 2015, more than 670,000 children spent time in U.S. foster care.

And the numbers are even more stark when it comes to education. Foster kids are two times as likely to be absent from school than other children. Each time a child changes schools, it can result in a loss of four to six months of academic progress. Add to that the fact that 34 percent of 17- to 18-year-olds in foster care have experienced five-plus school changes, and they’ve lost more than a year-and-a-half of progress during their educational careers. High school dropout rates are three times higher for foster youth than for other low-income children.

These early experiences have devastating ripple effects once foster youth leave the K-12 system: Nationwide, less than 3 percent of foster youth graduate from a four-year college by age 26, compared to 45 percent of the general population nationally. The more than 20,000 individuals each year who age out of foster care are less likely than youth in the general population to graduate from high school and are less likely to attend or graduate college.…Read More

8 new pathways to higher education

Network releases best practices from 8 states offering new pathways to a career-specific degree

network-pathways-education For the first time, eight states have released innovative best practices for other states and local areas interested in helping students land careers after postsecondary education. The Network of states’ practices are revolutionary in that they offer a general standard model of how to create this needed pipeline.

The Pathways to Prosperity Network, an initiative of Jobs for the Future (JFF) and the Harvard Graduate School of Education, began two years ago in an effort to help more students enter not only postsecondary education, but full-time jobs that directly help companies fill critical positions.

An effort that is sorely needed.…Read More