News - Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend Summit Highlights Momentum Toward College Completion Goals

December 7, 2012 — At the 2012 Summit at the Hanna Theatre last night, NOCHE announced progress toward achieving the region’s college attainment goals set forth by the Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend Steering Committee.  Keynote speaker Bill Christopher, a retired Alcoa executive and current head of discussions to develop a regional economic competitiveness strategy, described the progress of these talks spearheaded by Team NEO, Fund for Our Economic Future, and JobsOhio.

The region’s 16 counties boast nearly 925,000 college degree holders with a goal of 1,000,000 by 2014.  This yields a 29.77 percent regional college attainment rate, nearly a percentage point higher than the 2009 baseline year.  The college completion rate, adult postsecondary participation rate, college continuation rate, and yearly change in degrees awarded show positive gains.  Northeast Ohio’s colleges and universities awarded 32,989 college degrees in 2011, the most recent year for which data is available, which is 1,729 more than the previous year.

The key performance indicators are highlighted on NOCHE’s website.

“We are emboldened by Northeast Ohio’s continued progress toward cultivating the college-educated workforce that the regional economy requires,” said NOCHE Executive Director Ann Womer Benjamin.  “Mr. Christopher made a clear case for the importance of college education for placing Northeast Ohio’s economy on a path to prosperity.”

Many partners in the Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend are committed to focusing on strategies to increase college success.  The 2012 Summit featured the success stories of Lorain County Community College, Cleveland State University, and ideastream, and the 2012 Annual Report showcased even more partners and their great work.

NOCHE and College Now Greater Cleveland received a College Access Challenge Grant to increase college access and attainment among low-income and first-generation college students.  Eastern Ohio P-16, LEAF, Portage County College Access Network, REACHigher and The University of Akron have provided programming to help high school students in their transition into college.  Dual enrollment has enjoyed expansion in the region through the various efforts of Kent State University, Lorain County Community College, Youngstown State University, and Stark Education Partnership, among others.

Students with a small financial hurdle in their last year of college were helped to scale that hurdle and complete their degree by Hiram College, Kent State University, and the University of Akron with the help of the Talent Dividend Prize Contest matching grant program provided by the Lumina and Kresge Foundations.

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