ProjectAttain! is excited to kick of a new year with some very ambitious goals all aligned with our mission of addressing equity and talent gaps by increasing the region’s educational attainment for working age adults to 60% by 2030.
It’s important work. In fact, the 2021 Community Survey data shows that almost half a million (498,424) adults in our region started high school or college at some point in their life but didn’t finish. Another 373,804 didn’t go on after high school even though reports indicate that 1 in 4 jobs requires some type of postsecondary education. That is three-quarters of million people who could – if they were to complete their education – fill the skills gaps employers currently face while also improving their own economic conditions. That’s the classic definition of a Win-Win.
ProjectAttain! exists because too many people have faced the difficult and often unwanted decision of halting their education. Stopping, dropping, or not pursuing education leaves adults and their families with fewer opportunities and limited economic mobility. That’s why this work is more than important—it’s necessary—and it grows more critical each day because we know that:
- Under-credentialed adults continue to face lower wages and fewer job opportunities,
- Educational institutions face a concerning enrollment gap that returning students can fill before it becomes a crisis, and
- Regional employers face a shortage of trained, skilled, and qualified talent.
ProjectAttain!’s 2023 work plan addresses these challenges by helping to remove the barriers that returning students face when they are ready to come back and earn a diploma, certificate, apprenticeship, or degree. We are focused on providing the tools, resources, and incentives that people need to restart their education while also continuing to drive systems change work that helps institutions better serve the adult population.
Simply put, we must make it clearer, simpler, and easier to return to complete a diploma, certificate, apprenticeship, or degree. To achieve that goal, here are just a few of the strategic initiatives and backbone services that ProjectAttain! will advance this year.
Diploma, Certificate, Degree Networks
Collective action networks focused on increasing equity, attainment, and employment through regional systems change that improves pathways to and through education and into high-quality careers. ProjectAttain! will continue to support networks in coming together around shared goals and challenges, identify projects and funding, and bring additional partners and members into the ecosystem.
Sacramento K16 Collaborative Backbone Support
ProjectAttain! will serve as the hub for regional participants (education, industry, and workforce) working to achieve the overarching goals of this statewide program, which include cultivating regional economies, strengthening education-to-career pathways, and ensuring that education, vocational, and workforce programs work together to provide broader access to education and employment opportunities.
Adult Attainment Summit
Annually, ProjectAttain! brings together education, industry, workforce, economic development, and community-based organizations at a Summer Summit that provides regional updates, state and national perspectives, and working sessions for planning projects and sharing successful models. Save the date for Wednesday, August 16th!
This statewide research-practice project includes a “career first” outreach and engagement effort aimed at reconnecting adult learners that opted out of community colleges or universities. With funding from ECMC Foundation, Strada Foundation, and technical assistance from InsideTrack, 30 institutions from three regions are anticipated to join the project. ProjectAttain! will partner on this initiative with California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy, the Institution for Higher Education Policy, and InsideTrack.
ProjectAttain! joins this collaborative research project, funded through the Kresge Foundation, that aims to advance promising postsecondary practices that better engage returning students and propel them toward degree completion. Current partners in the research-policy-practice partnership known as CaliforniaAttain! include California Competes, Shasta College Attainment and Innovation Lab for Equity (SCAILE), Sacramento State, and ProjectAttain!
As you can see, we have a lot to do and we are stepping into 2023 with enthusiasm for this work and a focus on equity. I wish you a happy new year and thank you for your support of our vision—a vision that we know is possible. We’ll be sharing more news with you on our progress and impact, and always invite you to participate with us along the way
We look forward to the work ahead!