CONTACT:  Michele Clark
Communications Coordinator
573-751-3469

Vol. 45, No. 57

August 2, 2011

Education Commissioner Applauds Regional College Pipeline Plan

A community plan for helping more students get ready for, get in, and get through college has the support of Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro.

The St. Louis Regional College Access Pipeline Project (CAP) recently unveiled an action plan with a focus on degree completion among low-income and first-generation college-going students. The regional plan was developed by college access service providers, educators, business leaders and funders.

Its overarching goal is to increase the percentage of adults in the region with a postsecondary degree to 50 percent by 2020. Currently, among adults age 25 to 64 in the bi-state region, only 9 percent have an associate degree and less than 20 percent have a bachelor’s degree.

“The CAP’s action plan reflects a collective commitment for not only helping students envision a brighter future but for helping them unlock doors to achieve their true potential,” Nicastro said. “To be competitive in the future, the region—and the state—need all of our students to graduate twice.”

The strategic plan to improve college access for the St. Louis Region is a call-to-action to strengthen the college access pipeline. The plan calls for students setting postsecondary education as a goal and helping them navigate the process, including education planning, graduation and connecting students and families with financial resources to attend college.

This regional effort is aligned with statewide goals for public education, Nicastro said. Statewide employment projections are that 63 percent of all jobs will require at least some level of postsecondary training by the year 2018.

“This is the type of community support our students need to be prepared for careers that require a strong foundation of academics and skills,” Nicastro said. “We are working hard at the state level to raise achievement levels for students and schools by coordinating our education systems and providing supportive policy from pre-school through postsecondary education and into the workforce.”

The State Board of Education has adopted the “Top 10 by 20” action plan which includes goals that, by 2020, all students will graduate high school ready for college and careers, all Missouri children will enter kindergarten prepared to be successful in school, and Missouri will prepare, develop and support effective educators.

“Developing high expectations for our students is critical,” Nicastro said. “I encourage those dedicated individuals within the schools, as well as parents and community leaders, to do all they can to help create a college-going culture within their schools.”