Tue July 5, 2011

Education Gathering in Denver Focusing on College Completion

Education officials from across the U.S. are in Denver this week.  They are taking on the task of figuring out how to make sure more students graduate from college ready for the workforce.

Boosting college completion for a new workforce is the theme of this year’s National Forum on Education Policy. More than 400 education officials will attend the conference – which is hosted by the Denver-based Education Commission of the States, or ECS. According to Chief of Staff Kathy Christie, right now there is great concern about whether the United States can remain globally competitive.

“What we’ve seen is that other countries are making greater advances. It’s not that we’re decreasing in our college graduates, but we have not advanced at the same level as our peer countries across the world,” she said.

Christie says the focus is not only on college, but making sure that more people get some sort of postsecondary credential to better prepare them for the workforce. 

Even if you’re going to a two-year institution to get to a level where you’re credentialed, you can go to an employer and say these are the things I know how to do, this is how well I know it.  I think it’s not totally about college completion, but having those skills and a high level of skills that allow people to get good jobs,” she adds.

This forum is geared less toward classroom educators and more toward legislators, education board members and others who have the means to make changes in school systems. Speakers include Colorado State University’s Temple Grandin and the Director of Education of Postsecondary Success and special Initiatives for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation - Hilary Pennington. The forum starts Wednesday and runs through Friday in downtown Denver.

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