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Connecting Students to Opportunities, No Matter Their Age

By SA2020 | Aug 14 2017

In the summer of 2015, after a year and a half of work with over 40 community partners, SA2020 released the Talent Pipeline Task Force Report. Since then, multiple efforts have been created to cultivate, retain, and support our local talent. And on August 2nd, we were pleased to present, in collaboration with the San Antonio Education Partnership, and in partnership with SA Works and Alamo Colleges, a discussion on a few of these specific efforts.

Here’s what we know:

  1. By the year 2040, our city will basically double in size.
  2. By the year 2020, 65% of all jobs will require education beyond on high school – degrees and/or professional certificates.
  3. Industry needs continue to grow disproportionately to the skill attainment of our workforce.

The goal set by our community for San Antonio’s college attainment by the year 2020 was 50%. We also said we needed to increase completion of our professional certificates by 10%. And in both instances, we’re not on track to meet our goals for 2020.

To turn around these trends, the Talent Pipeline Task Force focused on a dual pipeline. The recommendations for policy and programs would be simultaneously focused on both current students and the current workforce— adult learners, displaced or under-skilled existing workers, or those who need support to move to the next rung on a career ladder. Two efforts rose to the top to support these groups: SA Works and Upgrade.

SA Works connects young people to career opportunities while they’re still in school. Between summer internships and job shadowing for high schoolers, San Antonio students get opportunities to see what kind of jobs are out there and then get actual experience in those fields.

Upgrade, meanwhile, focuses on older students. In San Antonio, there are over 214,000 adults 25+ who started college but haven’t gotten a degree. (In Bexar County, there are about 270,000.) Upgrade advisors work with adults returning to school to help them make sense of credit transfers, class registration, and the cost of school.

We know that educational attainment has far-reaching economic benefits. In fact, the 2014 SA2020 Talent Dividend shows that a 1% increase in college attainment, which then amounted to about 14,000 people, would yield a $1.4 billion return to our community.

But the benefits of attainment are more than just economic. A more educated and economically secure community is also a community that is more civically engaged, voting and volunteering at a higher rate, is likely to be healthier, and attend more arts and cultural events.

Sound familiar? Those are important pieces of our shared vision—of what we envisioned for every member of our community. When more San Antonians have access to education and job training—whether at age 15 or 50—­we get closer to the goals we set for ourselves. Here’s how we can all play a part:

  1. Interested in finishing your degree? Get started with Upgrade!
  2. Want a paid, hands-on internship in high school? Learn more about SA Works and stay tuned for next summer’s opportunities.
  3. Want talented, inspiring young people as a part of your company? (Seriously, we speak from experience. They’re great.) Partner with SA Works.
  4. Looking for ways to support your current employees? Invest in their higher education. For every dollar a company invests in a tuition reimbursement program, an additional $1.29 is generated in savings. Learn more at Upgrade. For all your employees, make professional development a key part of your company or organization’s strategy.
  5. Interested in supporting San Antonio’s students? Establish a new or contribute to an existing San Antonio Education Partnership scholarship. Contact them for more info.

Find your piece of the puzzle, and then get involved to help San Antonio create more opportunities for everyone.

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