State leaders gathered in Frankfort today to discuss their full support of the work of the Commonwealth Education Continuum, a multi-agency effort launched last year to improve Kentucky’s education to workforce pipeline.
Co-chaired by Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman, CPE President Aaron Thompson and Commissioner of Education Jason E. Glass, the continuum consists of 28 members whose expertise ranges from early childhood to workforce development.
“I am so excited to work with the Commonwealth Education Continuum. This initiative allows us to look at our education and workforce system at the macro level, then drill down to identify and correct the gaps and barriers that prevent Kentuckians from truly succeeding,” said Lt. Gov. Coleman.
Last September, the group released its top three priorities to improve successful transitions from high school to college. They include:
- Employing more college advisors to help students plan for and transition to postsecondary education;
- Improving access to dual credit and other college preparatory programs for all students; and
- Diversifying the teaching force by attracting more men and people of color.
To help fund this work, CPE included a budget ask of $1,280,500 in fiscal 2022-2023 and $3,280,500 in fiscal year 2023-2024 in its agency budget. If funded during the legislative session, the budget will provide sufficient resources to implement the transition to postsecondary education component and the expanded access to early college opportunities.
“For Kentucky to have a highly skilled workforce and a thriving economy, we must improve student transitions to college and close the opportunity and success gaps for historically underserved students of color and students from low-income backgrounds,” said Thompson. “These are urgent priorities that deserve our state’s full support.”
Students often struggle the most when they hit major transition points, such as moving from high school to college. The continuum’s focus on the transition to postsecondary education aims to strengthen advising practices through the creation of local communities of practice and state and national networks to aid school counselors, college and career coaches, and Family Resource and Youth Service Center coordinators in better understanding the ever-changing postsecondary landscape and opportunities across the state.
The continuum’s second priority — improving access to dual credit and other early postsecondary opportunities – will help more students get a jump-start on college and lower their college costs since they earn college credit in high school. While CPE research shows these courses increase college enrollment, on-time graduation and help expose students to career possibilities, outcomes vary based on race, gender.
To expand access to dual credit opportunities to students of all socioeconomic and ability levels, the continuum will focus on developing a toolkit to identify and share best practices, creating an online interactive advising tool and re-establishing the Dual Credit Advisory Board.
Kentucky’s research also points to the urgent need to diversify the teaching workforce. Students are two times more likely to be male than their teacher, and minorities comprise 23% of public school students but only 4.8% of teachers.
To implement this priority, the group recommends a recruitment campaign that highlights the importance and benefits of the profession, and increase teacher and administrator retention and advancement opportunities, with a focus on underrepresented groups.
“We are pleased to advance the important work of the Commonwealth Education Continuum,” said Glass. “We know that all our graduates will need some type of training beyond their high school diploma to be productive citizens and successfully pursue their passions in life. We are proud to work with such a great group of people to find ways to help our students make that transition between high school and postsecondary training easier and more successful.”
For more information on the continuum, visit http://cpe.ky.gov/ourwork/cec.html.