Path to 70 Update: Why Washingtonians Value Credentials But Aren’t Completing Them

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.

As a state, we must better understand why more Washingtonians don’t pursue and complete the credentials they need to succeed in the job market.

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Student Pathway Success Stories at Avista

Energy Pathways is a four-week paid summer immersion opportunity developed by Spokane-area utility company Avista to introduce incoming high school juniors and seniors to the energy industry.

For Katelyn Bartel, now a student at Eastern Washington University, the internship was life changing.

“This really opened my eyes into what I could be doing with my life. It makes me more motivated when I go to school because I know that there’s something that I’m working towards. It gives me more of a goal.”




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Case study: The Promise of Automatic Admissions

Employers will create 373,000 net new jobs in Washington state by 2026. Seventy percent of these jobs are expected to require or be filled by workers with a post-high school credential, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. But our state is facing a crisis in credential attainment, with the pandemic further driving declines in postsecondary enrollment.

One promising strategy: Automatically admit students to reduce enrollment barriers.

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New Report: Restarting Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

This spring brought the rapid escalation of the COVID-19 pandemic, unprecedented economic disruption, and a much-needed public conversation about racial equity. The Washington Roundtable and Partnership for Learning are committed to playing a collaborative and productive role as we move forward, together.

Today, we are releasing a new report underscoring that credential completion is increasingly essential, and that education can be a catapult for those farthest from opportunity and a driver of economic recovery.

This report shares lessons from the Great Recession; shines a light on those individuals who are most vulnerable in the economic wake of the COVID-19 pandemic (namely, people of color, young workers, and those with only a high school education); and begins to examine policy options and opportunities to build a better Washington. It highlights clear steps Washington schools and the state can take to ensure education quality and rigor during the pandemic, make up for pandemic-related setbacks, address inequities, and knock down barriers to credential attainment.

The challenges ahead are substantial, and the stakes are high. We remain wholly committed to our goal: By the high school class of 2030, 70% of Washington students complete a post-high school credential – such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate – by age 26. We all have a role to play in helping students get there.  Please join us on the #pathto70.

Your Future Matters: Learn About Credit Waivers

Class of 2020: You have big dreams, and your education and future plans should not be compromised. High school seniors who were on track to graduate and were impacted by COVID-19 school building closures may have certain credit requirements waived if they are not able to earn those credits this spring. Take some time to think about what a waiver would mean for your future and ensure you will be best positioned to transition to your post-high school plans. School districts and teachers are making their best efforts to provide education. Seniors, you have the right to keep learning and stay on track for your future. Learn more about the possible impacts of a credit waiver in this fact sheet and comic.

How HS principals and business leaders are coming together for WA students

The leadership demands of running a company and running a high school are more similar than one might expect. From personnel management and budgeting to healthy culture and handling crises, CEOs and high school principals share much in common.

This is one theme principals and business leaders have explored through the Chief Education Officer Network, a two-year program that provides professional and leadership development for a cohort of high school principals from across Washington state. A partnership between the Association of Washington School Principals (AWSP), Partnership for Learning, Washington Roundtable, and Challenge Seattle, the CEO Network brings principals together for a series of two-day workshops and offers access to online curriculum developed by AWSP. It also individually matches each of the principals with a senior executive from Washington’s private sector for one-on-one discussions and support.Read More

Increasing Postsecondary Enrollment: Chehalis SD Case Study

In the Chehalis School District, more than 9 of 10 students are graduating in four years from W. F. West High School, a higher rate than the state average. An increasing number are going on to pursue a post-high school credential. The “credential going” culture has developed out of the district’s commitment to increased dual-credit opportunities and rigorous coursework, an active partnership with Centralia College, strong supports for students who have been systemically underserved, particularly first-generation college students and those from low-income households, and active collaboration among staff. Learn more about what makes the district stand out in our new case study, which is part of our Credential is Essential series.

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2020 Update: The Path to 70% Credential Attainment

REPORT: Right now, it’s estimated that just 41% of our high school students go on to earn a credential by age 26. To ensure students are prepared for jobs and opportunity, Washington must rapidly increase the rate at which students prepare for, pursue, and complete postsecondary credentials, according to a new report from the Washington Roundtable and Partnership for Learning.

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Practical support clears a path for kids to think big about their future

Laura Lyman, a 10th grader at Cascade High School in Leavenworth, plans to be the first in her family to attend college. She knows how to organize. She is motivated. She recognizes college education will have positive impacts on her future. The data says she’s right. Many of the job openings coming to our state will be filled by workers who have a credential after high school.

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High School and Beyond Planning 101

I’m a parent or guardian. How should I be involved with my child’s Plan process?

Regularly reviewing and updating the Plan with your child throughout middle and high school is one step you can take. Check in with your student about their Plan regularly – consider asking if you can see it and what your child is doing now to meet their goals. You can also ask your student’s teachers and counselor for more information.

Watch this short video from Ready Washington to learn more, and visit their website at www.readywa.org/beyond for information in English and Spanish.

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