Attainment Academy: Helping States Achieve Postsecondary Attainment Goals

Education Strategy Group (ESG) and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association (SHEEO) are bringing together teams from seven states to participate in an academy focused on meaningful, industry-aligned postsecondary credential attainment.

Now and into the future, a postsecondary credential with labor market value is necessary for economic success. And yet, less than half of adults have a postsecondary credential and significant attainment gaps remain across race and income status. To address these gaps, nearly every state in the country has set a postsecondary attainment goal aligned to their future workforce projections. Much work remains to meet these goals, and it will take cross-sector commitment and leadership to translate the aspirations into action.

Recognizing that no one sector can achieve the necessary gains to close attainment gaps and meet workforce shortages, the Attainment Academy will bring together a cross-sector team of state leaders from the following states: California, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, New Jersey, North Carolina and Tennessee. In addition to SHEEOs and higher education system leaders, state teams will include representatives from K-12, economic development leaders, 2-year and 4-year institutional leadership, gubernatorial staff, and legislators. Each state team has made a commitment to develop a cross-sector plan to close postsecondary attainment gaps in their state and begin taking the necessary steps to execute on that plan. For some states, this may mean developing a plan to renew commitments to the goal across various stakeholders, while for others it may mean developing clear action plans and strategies to tackle together.

Over the 18-month Attainment Academy, states teams will meet collectively three times to learn from national experts, share promising practices with their peers, and engage in cross-sector strategic planning. Each state team will receive tailored technical assistance from SHEEO and ESG as they seek to:

  • Deepen support for attainment efforts among policymakers, institutional leadership, faculty, and other key constituents and stakeholders;
  • Prioritize strategies to close equity gaps and support student success among traditionally underserved student populations;
  • Strengthen alignment between higher education and workforce goals; and
  • Dramatically increase postsecondary preparation, transitions, and success.

To help drive the work, states will receive a data analysis of current gaps and opportunities to increase attainment in their states. This will include data on both students’ trajectory into and through higher education, as well as alignment with workforce. The trajectory analysis will ¬†allow states to assess loss points on the path to credential completion by specific demographic categories, and help demonstrate how closing these gaps is key to meeting attainment goals. The workforce analysis will use labor market information to help participants assess how well their current degree production is aligned with current and projected workforce needs in their states.

Attainment Academy Press Release