For Higher Education

State, system and institutional leaders stand ready to address the most pressing higher education issues of the 21st Century. How to align their programs with the future workforce demands of their state’s economy? How to help significantly more youth and adults attain credentials and degrees that put them on a path to economic prosperity? How to increase enrollment while ensuring that students are prepared for success from day one? And how to do all of this in an era of increasingly tightening budgets? At ESG, we specialize in strategies to address these challenges, bringing years of experience and expertise to bear to achieve greater impact.

Communities leading the way

In our work with states, systems and institutions, we have seen how well-implemented policies to improve postsecondary success can make a difference in the lives of students and the well-being of communities.

  • Tennessee’s focus on meeting its Drive to 55 postsecondary attainment goal has led the state to expand 12th grade transition courses for students not yet ready to place out of remedial education, provide free community college for all youth and adults in the state, and encourage adults to return to the postsecondary system to gain new skills that will make them competitive in the labor market.
  • Rhode Island’s postsecondary and workforce leaders are partnering to develop a joint action plan to meet the state’s 70% attainment goal, with a focus on how to serve returning adults and offer programs and pathways that align with the current and future industry needs.
  • Indiana is working to reengage adults with some college, but no degree to return to postsecondary education by offering free courses to complete credentials in priority workforce sectors, simultaneously helping meet the state’s attainment and workforce goals.
  • Long Beach, CA has served more than 12,000 youth through its College Promise program that provides early supports to students while they are still enrolled in high school, guarantees admission for students that meet minimum college preparatory or community college transfer requirements, and covers students’ tuition for a semester at the local community college.

Why cross-sector alignment is critical to reach your goals

To support long-term success for students and states, K-12, postsecondary and workforce leaders must look beyond their sectors. The data are clear that a high school diploma alone is not enough for long-term student success. Four out of five employers report gaps in recent high school graduates’ skills. The unemployment rate for individuals without some postsecondary education or training is more than double than their peers. Nearly every job created after Great Recession is for individuals with more than a high school education. In the next few years, two-thirds of all jobs will require some postsecondary education or training.

Unfortunately, significant gaps exist in student preparation for success beyond high school. On national assessments, only about 40% of students meet college readiness benchmarks. Each year, millions of students arrive on a college campus and find themselves in remedial education, and very few of these students ever attain a credential that can put them on a path to economic opportunity.

The lessons from leading states and communities are clear—alignment drives student success. Creating consistent K-12 and postsecondary expectations and promoting seamless pathways can dramatically increase preparation levels and decrease remediation, leading to increased attainment rates. Similarly, when higher education leaders partner with workforce and business sectors to strengthen alignment with economic needs, students benefit. Creating coherent pathways into the workforce leads to the career success and financial independence of college graduates.

How ESG can help achieve impact

Education Strategy Group’s mission is to increase educational attainment rates and expand economic opportunity in the U.S. We work with K-12, postsecondary, and business and industry leaders to develop and use attainment goals to spur action, expand postsecondary access and success, and scale strategies to increase attainment for all. As a team, we bring years of combined local, state, and national experience building networks, developing policies, and implementing programs to support students. Learn more about Our People.

We currently support postsecondary success activities in a number of settings. Through our Higher Ed for Higher Standards coalition, we work to support K-12 and higher education alignment for student success. We have partnered with Rhode Island to help the K-12, postsecondary and workforce systems collaborate on an action agenda to meet the state’s 70% attainment goal. Learn more about our current and past Clients.

For more information about our work, visit our Focus Areas and Services.

Learn more

To discuss how we can help you achieve greater impact, Contact Us.