Washington’s economy is heavily dependent on workers who complete a credential after high school, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. Credentials have become more essential for individuals and our state as our communities realize the full impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Through the early months of the pandemic, unemployment for high school graduates was 9% (nearly three times higher than it was a year prior at this time), compared to an unemployment rate for those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree of 4.8%. Post-high school education helps individuals gain the knowledge and skills they need to pursue careers over a lifetime, succeed economically, and create strong communities.
As we seek to recover from the pandemic, it is clear that a post-high school credential is as important as ever to enable people to succeed in our economy, particularly people of color, young people, and people who are low-income. Young Washingtonians and displaced workers alike will require training and postsecondary education to meet the demands of today’s world.
In response to the postsecondary education enrollment crisis exacerbated by COVID-19 pandemic, the College Promise Coalition recommends bold action to increase post-high school education enrollment and credential attainment. We support a variety of strategies to meet students’ needs to enroll in and complete a post-high school credential:
- Cost-free dual credit/dual enrollment courses
- FAFSA-free Washington College Grant enrollment
- Comprehensive outreach via regional partnerships and other avenues to students and families about financial aid and postsecondary pathways
- Navigators to support students in overcoming barriers to enrollment
- Recovery stipends to prevent emergencies from causing students to drop out
Read our full 2022 agenda HERE.
Learn more about the Path to 70% and watch student stories HERE
Here are a few examples of what our members are saying and doing: