Improving Post-Secondary Attainment in Pinellas County
Economic studies show that the region needs more well-trained adults to meet our workforce demands and build a stronger, more vital community. LEAP Tampa Bay is at the forefront of this effort, and has set a goal to bring the number of working-age adults in our region who have a college degree or quality industry certification from the current figure of 48 percent to 60 percent by the year 2025.
The LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network recently brought together more than 60 community leaders from Pinellas County and the Tampa Bay region to discuss the current state of educational achievement in Pinellas County and identify ways the community can support improvements to critical outcomes that impact the Tampa Bay region’s talent pipeline.
At the center of the discussion was the Pinellas Community Indicator Report, produced by Florida College Access Network for LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network with input from multiple community stakeholders including Pinellas County Schools Pinellas Technical College, St. Petersburg College, University of South Florida – St. Petersburg, Future Plans USA and Helios Education Foundation. The research report was commissioned by the Pinellas Education Foundation with support from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg.
The in-depth report looked at 15 indicators of how well Pinellas County students are doing and how many are going on to earn a college credential. Partners gave community leaders the unique opportunity to discuss the data in small groups, share their reactions and insights and offer priorities for how to improve student success.
“The insights from this report highlight for us the discrepancies that can exist in student success for underrepresented populations. When these results are made visible and are discussed by the broader community at these collaborative events, partnerships can emerge that can help close the achievement gaps. Collectively, we have greater opportunity to change lives in our community,” shared Ken Burke, CPA, member of the Higher Education Coordinating Council.
The report builds on the work being done across Pinellas and Hillsborough counties by numerous cross-sector partners in the LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network. Work on the report started In December 2017, when a group of Pinellas County community leaders and stakeholders met to discuss the use of indicators and metrics for improving student success to ensure that more students, particularly those facing the greatest challenges, achieve an education beyond high school to put them on a path to a rewarding career. Metrics were used that related to college and career readiness, access and affordability, college performance, workforce and economic outcomes, and degree attainment. The indicators featured in this report share the goal of improving student outcomes and assuring equity of educational and economic opportunities.
“The compilation of the data found in this report tells a story of complexity and nuance that is impacting people and organizations in multiple ways,” explains Stacy Carlson, president of Pinellas Education Foundation. “It is this complexity that highlights the need for the variety of perspectives. Inequitable issues of access and success in postsecondary education didn’t happen overnight or because of the practice of one organization or one policy. Change will take the collective commitment of all of us to build a strong talent pipeline and greater economic prosperity for all.”
See the report at: https://www.leaptampabay.org/pinellas-student-success-indicators-report
About the Report Partners
Pinellas Education Foundation
The Pinellas Education Foundation is dedicated to accelerating achievement for all students through the mobilization of innovation, relationships and resources. By focusing on improving academic achievement and preparing students for multiple pathways after high school, the Foundation ensures that students are prepared for life after high school whether that path is college, career technical education, work or the military. https://www.pinellaseducation.org
LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network
LEAP Tampa Bay is a cross-sector network of partners representing business, education, philanthropy and government who have established a community-wide commitment to college access and attainment in Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties, with a goal to reach 60% of working age adults (age 25-64) holding a degree or high-quality certificate by 2025. By working together with a collective impact approach, LEAP partners are helping more people earn such credentials, thus improving their family’s earning potential, building the talent available for job opportunities in Tampa Bay’s thriving economy, and achieving large-scale social impact. https://www.leaptampabay.org
Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg
The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is a private foundation formed in 2013 following the sale of the nonprofit Bayfront Health St. Petersburg. It is the steward of more almost $180 million in assets to serve the residents of Pinellas County, particularly those in greatest need. The Foundation’s mission is to end differences in health due to social or structural disadvantages, and to improve population health by inspiring and empowering people, ideas, organizations, and relationships. http://healthystpete.foundation
Florida College Access Network
Florida College Access Network (FCAN) is Florida’s first collaborative network committed to ensuring all Floridians have the opportunity to achieve an education beyond high school and prosper in Florida’s dynamic economy. FCAN’s mission is to create and sustain a statewide network that catalyzes and supports communities to increase college and career preparation, access, and completion for all Florida students. FCAN’s vision for Florida is Goal 2025: For 60% of working-age Floridians to hold a high-quality postsecondary degree or credential by the year 2025. http://floridacollegeaccess.org