Earning a credential after high school opens doors to an array of career and advancement opportunities in Washington state.
Just 40% of Washington’s high school class of 2021 is projected to complete a credential by age 26. Our Black, Hispanic and Latinx, and Native American students are earning credentials at even lower rates.
Partnership for Learning and the Washington Roundtable are leading a conversation about policy actions and implementation that seek to address inequities, increase credential attainment, and ensure more Washington youth are positioned to successfully pursue careers and opportunities in their home state.
After three years of steep declines, postsecondary enrollment in Washington is showing signs of recovery. According to data shared with Washington Roundtable by the state’s public postsecondary institutions, 51,000+ fewer students enrolled in our public institutions in fall 2023 than in fall 2019 – representing a 17% enrollment decline since the pandemic’s onset. This comes when postsecondary education is increasingly the only pathway to middle-class jobs.
Washington has added more than 500,000 jobs since the early months of the COVID-19 pandemic; another 500,000 are expected by the end of this decade. By 2031, 72% of jobs in our state will require postsecondary training or credentials, yet it’s estimated that just 40% of our students are on track to complete them.
Read more about the picture of postsecondary enrollment in Washington in fall 2023 in our latest report.
Our Focus Areas
Increase the number of students who pursue and complete credentials after high school that will enable them to secure the career of their choice.
College and Career Readiness
Prepare Washington students with the skills and knowledge they’ll need to succeed in college, an apprenticeship, or other training after high school.
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Research in 2021 indicated that Washington would add 373,000 net new jobs over five years, at least 70% of which will be filled by workers with a postsecondary credential. It is vitally important—to our state’s future and our residents—that more Washingtonians pursue the credentials that fuel our workforce and our economy. Yet, postsecondary enrollment stagnated through much of the last decade and declined markedly during the pandemic.
High school students in the Edmonds School District graduate at a higher rate than their peers statewide. They also enroll in post-high school education at much higher rates. What is driving the district’s outsized success?