A Dayton education initiative called Learn to Earn has been selected for a national partnership. The Lumina Foundation is giving 20 cities up to $200,000 for the project. It's part of an effort to prepare the region for the high paying jobs of the future.
Learn to Earn Dayton is an all-hands-on-deck approach to work force development. Its goal is to dramatically increase the number of high school graduates who go on to earn college degrees. Right now in Montgomery County, about 36% of high school graduates receive a college degree or post-high school credential within 6 years of graduation. Learn to Earn's goal is to raise the percentage to 50% by 2025.
Now, the project is getting extra support from the Lumina Foundation, a national education endowment.
“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina. “Increased attainment delivers stronger local economies, greater individual earning power and better quality of life. Every community in America wants that, and we’ve designed this work to give leaders in the Dayton region and beyond the tools they need to be successful.”
Tom Lasley, the executive director of Learn to Earn, says the partnership will help leverage Dayton to get more support in the future.
"The win here is not the dollars. The dollars are really small part of this," said Lasley, who said the real win is networking with groups around the country to improve Dayton’s economic outlook. "All these communities have decided that unless they significantly increase the amount of intellectual capital they have, that it’s going to compromise their economic viability in the future."
Learn to Earn Dayton is focused on three areas: kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency and increasing college enrollment. Other cities who are part of the pilot project include Boston, Pittsburgh, and Louisville.
CORRECTION: An earlier version stated Learn to Earn's goal is to raise the percentage to 55%.