Approximately 31 million Americans have completed some college credit without earning a degree or credential. Almost 300,000 Mississippians who attended a public university or community college within the past 15 years have completed some college without earning a degree.
Thursday, Mississippi Public Universities announced the launch of Complete 2 Compete, a new initiative designed to reach out to former students and help them complete their degrees.
“Economic development is driven by a skilled, educated workforce,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “This partnership will ensure Mississippi remains attractive to business and industry looking for a favorable tax climate and a workforce ready to excel on day one. I am grateful to everyone involved in making it a reality.”
Complete 2 Compete is a statewide program focused on encouraging Mississippi adults who have completed some college, but no degree, to return to college and complete the requirements necessary to earn their degrees.
More than 10,000 former students age 25 or over have enough credits to earn a bachelor’s degree with no additional coursework and almost 60,000 have enough credits to earn an associates degree with no additional coursework. Even more students have some college credit, but lack the number needed for a degree.
“Helping former students complete their degrees gives them the opportunity to compete more successfully in today’s job market,” said Dr. Glenn Boyce, Commissioner of Higher Education. “Current workforce studies have shown that most post-recession jobs are going to those with a post secondary degree or credential of value beyond high school. I cannot think of anything more worthwhile than partnering with the community college system to help identify and reach out to adult students. This initiative can have life-changing results for many Mississippians.”
Mississippi Public Universities, the Mississippi Community College Board and the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges are partners in the effort to identify target groups, implement adult learner services and re-engage adult students to help them complete their degrees.
“Numerous studies show a correlation between the level of education attainment and lifetime earnings, health, and economic vitality,” said Dr. Andrea Mayfield, Executive Director, Mississippi Community College Board. “Employment opportunities and wages increase as level of education/training increases. An educated, well trained workforce leads to increasing employment rates, a better quality of life for people. Working people earning sustainable wages have the means to improve the economy through local spending and tax revenues. Business and industry efficiency and productivity levels increase, which also drive local and state revenues. Education and training is the catalyst for employment, increased earnings, successful business, a thriving economy and a strong State budget. Education and training attainment is the key to quality of life.”
For the initial effort, Mississippians who attended a public university or community colleges within the past 15 years have been identified:
· Associates degree with no additional coursework: 57,312
· Bachelor’s degree with no additional coursework: 10,360
· Associates degree with some additional coursework: 189,145
· Bachelor’s degree with some additional coursework: 20,242
A website with more details on how to participate in the program will be launched and announced soon.