Washington educators, students, and families are charting new waters in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As we navigate this crisis together, the Washington Roundtable and our education foundation, Partnership for Learning, remain focused on what it will take to recover and to ensure Washington students are prepared for the future. Increasingly the jobs available in our state have been filled by workers who have completed a postsecondary credential – such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. Earning a credential after high school is the key to accessing a vast array of career and advancement opportunities in our state. We believe more so than ever that completing a credential is essential to that preparation. We remain wholly committed to reaching the goal that, by the high school class of 2030, 70% of Washington students go on to complete a credential.
Today, we release this new report updating our work toward the 70% credential attainment goal. It is the culmination of many conversations with leaders from Washington’s K-12 and postsecondary systems and institutions. This report assesses Washington’s progress, highlights the critical role postsecondary institutions play in driving improvement, and establishes guiding principles for investments. Right now, just 41% of our high school students are estimated to go on to earn a credential by age 26. To ensure students are prepared for jobs and opportunity, Washington must rapidly increase the rate at which students prepare for, pursue, and complete postsecondary credentials.
The annual increase in credential attainment must nearly triple to reach our goal. Postsecondary enrollment must increase by an average of 53% across all institutions. That means Washington must enroll 29,000 more graduates from the high school class of 2030 into postsecondary programs than the number projected to enroll from the high school class of 2017. Postsecondary completion must increase 14% on average across all of Washington’s postsecondary institutions. Greater supports will be needed for a larger, more diverse student population that includes higher numbers of first-generation and low-income students.
Reaching 70% credential attainment is an ambitious challenge. We are encouraged by the growing partnership between the business community and the state’s K-12 and postsecondary systems, institutions, and agencies in pursuit of credential attainment. We look forward to tackling this challenge together. Read more here.