A Regional Imperative

Article Access Magazine Volume 18, Issue 2

Millions of people in America are financially insecure. The single most important driver of economic opportunity and social mobility is educational attainment. By 2020, 65 percent of jobs will require high-quality credentials beyond high school.

Closing the Gap

Data show that there are nearly 4.5 million working age adults in California between the ages of 25 and 64 with some college but no degree, and more than 345,000 of them are in the eight-county Sacramento region—a disproportionate share of which are people of color and women. Cultivating the overlooked talent pool will accelerate efforts to raise educational attainment, narrow the equity gap and meet our region’s workforce needs.

Research Indicates the Following Obstacles for Adults Returning to Formal Education:

  • 36% Finances
  • 27% Logistics (work schedule, transportation, childcare, etc.)
  • 20% Lack of guidance
  • 11% Life changes
  • 6% Academic or learning issues

There is a clear mismatch between future workforce needs and the number of skilled workers available to fill these positions that will become even more pronounced if we stay on the current path.

ProjectAttain! is a comprehensive regional strategy to chart a new course by increasing educational attainment to 60 percent by 2025. While the answer may seem simple—help working age adults finish what they started—the solution is complex. Working age adults face particular challenges when returning to school, like finding accessible classes to fit their schedules, balancing coursework with the responsibilities of work and family and the overall cost.

ProjectAttain! Strategic Outcomes

  1. Increased educational attainment
  2. Educational equity
  3. Regional and individual prosperity
  4. Skills alignment with workforce needs

Engaging the Community

Stakeholder engagement from the business, government, education and non-profit sectors is critical to ensure that programs are aligned with industry needs and that barriers are addressed.

There are multiple pathways to educational attainment including certificates, apprenticeships, associate’s and baccalaureate degrees. Educational providers must work together to deliver a variety of high-quality credentials that meet market demand and support postsecondary access and success.

Impacting the Future

When working age adults complete in-demand credentials it improves individual lives and family trajectories and positively impacts our regional prosperity and economic competitiveness.

ProjectAttain! serves as a catalyst to improve the lives of individuals in our communities and the economic vitality of our region. — Dean Jenni Murphy

Educational Attainment Improves Lives and Communities

Graduates With Postsecondary Credentials Are:

  • 25% more likely to be employed
  • 47% more likely to have health insurance
  • Using $82,000 less in government spending
  • 72% more likely to have a retirement plan
  • 2x more likely to volunteer

Regional Economic Prosperity Is Impacted By:

  • Talent retention
  • Increased tax base
  • Increased charitable giving
  • Direct spending on goods and services
  • Recruitment and retention of quality jobs and investment