There’s truth in the saying, “what gets measured, gets done.” Without clear data, it is almost impossible to identify impact and to understand where gaps continue to exist, preventing access to equitable opportunities in our community. We know that by 2030, 70% of Washington state’s jobs will require some form of postsecondary credential and 67% of those will require STEM skills. We want to be sure these pathways are accessible by students in our region so your business can thrive.
To champion this important work at a local level, GSI houses the Spokane STEM Network which works in partnership with Washington STEM (WA STEM) and ten other STEM Networks to champion equitable access to STEM for students of all ages across Washington. Every year, WA STEM publishes regional STEM by the Numbers reports that present localized data indicating how each region is on track to attain high-demand credentials – all forms of postsecondary education and training such as registered apprenticeships, 1-year certificates, 2- and 4-year degrees – to reach 70%.
But why does this matter to your business? Without connecting the entire system of learning that an individual experiences before becoming a hirable candidate, potential talent is lost in unintentionally formed gaps and inequities. Right now, only 40% of the 2019 high school cohort is projected to be on track to attain postsecondary credentials and it will take a village to increase projections for following classes.
A few important highlights in this year’s 2020-2021 Eastern Region STEM by the Numbers report:
- The report represents our entire Northeast Washington Educational Service District 101 (NEWESD 101) region, which spans across seven eastern counties (Ferry, Stevens, Pend Oreille, Lincoln, Spokane, Adams, Whitman) and includes almost 60 public school districts.
- Financial aid is a large factor for individuals to access any type of postsecondary opportunity and is more than a K-12 responsibility. For example, studies show that on average, students are 84% more likely to enroll in postsecondary education if they complete a FAFSA. Access to financial aid affects more than just the student applying, it affects our entire regional economy.
- Credential enrollment and attainment is an important distinguisher and gap to close. Supporting students, of all ages, to and through their postsecondary journey is critical to increase qualified candidates and recover our economy.
With this data at hand, we challenge each of us to think through investments, priorities and advancement in a data-driven way to support progress for all students across the Eastern Region. If you have further questions on this report or the work at hand, please reach out to Cassidy Peterson, the Director of the Spokane STEM Network and GSI’s Director of Education and Talent.