GSI Launches Pilot Program for Education Initiative

Mixed group of students in class

The work that we do every day in education and workforce to ensure a skilled and qualified pipeline of individuals for future employment with regional businesses includes more than important programs like Business AfterSchool and Teaching the Teachers.

Our career-awareness work is expanding to include partnerships with Excelerate Success that will focus on strengthening education initiatives from cradle to career. One big initiative, Education Attainment, kicked off this year to increase the number of adults in Spokane County with high-quality degrees, certificates or other credentials from 40% to 60% by 2025.

This GSI Board-led initiative puts the focus on the approximately 74,000 working adults in Spokane County who have earned some college credit but have not yet attained a degree. GSI has identified a two-pronged approach to target this particular population. The first leverages GSI’s role as a business organization to create an employer-driven pilot, which assesses degree completion and interest of local employees, and identifies incentive models for them to further pursue their postsecondary degrees and/or certificates. The second approach leverages GSI’s strong collaborative partnership with higher education institutions to develop and utilize existing strategies to retain or re-engage the adult population. GSI has also begun work with the Graduate! Network, a national network of regional communities, exploring best practices in identifying postsecondary attainment opportunities for working adults.

These important efforts will be funded by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) Lumina Award. GSI was one of five communities chosen for this national funding that will launch the employer-driven pilot program.

Participating employers for the pilot program include Community Colleges of Spokane, Numerica, Pearson Packaging Systems, PAML, Spokane County, Spokane Public Schools, STCU, Umpqua and US Bank. Our participating employers and their employees are providing information that will help our region develop a program designed to serve the 74,000 working adults in Spokane County who have earned some college credit but have not yet attained a degree. Through our partnering businesses’ models and existing programs we can identify those barriers that keep an adult from pursuing or completing a post-secondary degree or high-level certificate and also the best practices that are currently being implemented to engage our adult working population in furthering their education.

For more information, check out this video about education attainment that features Alisha Benson, Interim CEO and VP, Education and Workforce. For more information and to get engaged as a future pilot company or within the education attainment discussion, please contact Meg Lindsay.


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