The initiative is designed to promote “higher earning through higher learning,” based on research that shows the single greatest predictor of economic success in a community is the number of degreed and industry-certified people. Of the working age population in Northeast Florida, 36 percent have a two- or four-year degree, ranking 72 among the 100-most populated metro areas in the country.
This isn’t just an education issue. It’s an economic development issue.” said Daniel Davis, president and CEO of JAX Chamber. “We know when companies are looking to invest and expand, they need to know there’s a trained, educated workforce there to step into jobs. Making progress to this 60 percent goal not only helps us in the eyes of employers, it absolutely improves the quality of life in our community.”
Earn Up is a result of six months of collaboration and work by leaders of the region’s private colleges and public universities, K-12 school districts, local governments, business communities and nonprofit organizations.
“We are fortunate to have a diverse range of outstanding higher education options in Northeast Florida and, by working together and making it easier for people to take advantage of them, we can significantly increase in the number of residents with education beyond high school,” said John Delaney, president of the University of North Florida and the incoming chair of the JAX Chamber Board of Directors.
To reach the 60 percent goal, Earn Up will look for improvement in three key areas:
- Improving how high school students are moved into college certificate and degree programs. Advanced Placement and dual enrollment are part of the solution, as is Mayor Alvin Brown’s Learn 2 Earn program, which allows students aspiring to be first-generation college students to spend a week on campus and learn about being a college student.
- Looking at ways to help remove some of the common roadblocks adults face to complete their degree – or pursue a new field. That could be by giving a closer look at accepting credit for prior learning, adding more online courses or providing more support service for working students.
- Making it easier for military veterans who retire or end their service in Northeast Florida to obtain a certification or degree to pursue a second career.
Learn more about our regional talent workforce at http://jaxusa.org/regional-talent.