Goal 8: Increase Educational Attainment
In January 2015, Mayor Fischer launched the Cradle to Career initiative to establish a systematic approach to support lifelong learning and success in the Louisville community. This system of integrated public and private services that begins in the early years and leads to post-secondary and career success will result in a skilled workforce and ensure all citizens have the opportunity to succeed.
Cradle to Career brings community partners together to work toward this common goal of providing citizens access to lifelong learning and workforce opportunities.
Activities under the Cradle to Career initiative are executed under four major pillars of work that function together to strengthen the education/workforce system. The four areas include:
· Early Care and Education/ Kindergarten Readiness convened by Metro United Way
· K-12 Success convened by Jefferson County Public Schools
· High School to Postsecondary Transition and Completion convened by 55K Degrees
· 21st Century Workforce and Talent convened by KentuckianaWorks
Each pillar under the Cradle to Career system works together to develop strategies to achieve identified targets and goals.
Louisville’s leadership has equated educational attainment with economic development and quantified what it would take to move us into the top tier of fifteen competitive cities, as defined by The Greater Louisville Project. Education offers more opportunities for individuals to increase earnings and for the city to attract and compete for 21st century jobs and improve its quality of life.
Initiative Health: What are we doing to accomplish this?
Four years ago, Louisville took on the bold challenge of increasing the percentage of working-age adults with college degrees. Our aim is to have 50% of Louisville's working age adults attain a bachelor's or associates degree by 2020.
To achieve this goal, Louisville Metro will help by furthering 55K's five objectives.
1. Create and support a college going culture
2. Use the business community’s unique points of leverage to accelerate attainment
3. Prepare students for success in college, career, citizenship and life
4. Make post-secondary education accessible and affordable
5. Increase educational persistence, performance and progress
55K launched their joint report with Kentuckiana Works on Dec. 7, 2015 during the Fast Forward Summit. Progress includes:
1. High school to college leaks closing.
2. Significant decline in summer melt rate from 19.8% to 16.8%.
3. Increase in degree and certificate completions.
Metro Parks Community Centers and Shawnee Art and Cultural Center will help create and support a college-going culture through creating and maintaining College and Career Corners, take youth on college field trips, etc.
VISTA is assisting Metro Parks and Recreation in updating the College and Career Corner sites at Baxter, California and Newburg Community Centers.
The College and Career Corner's initial focus is on Baxter, California and Newburg Community Centers, which correspond to the Zones of Hope work being done out of the Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods.
Louisville Free Public Library continues to provide services both on-site and online to assist people in pursuing higher education.
- College entrance exam preparation classes are offered throughout the year to provide opportunities for students taking the ACT to practice and learn about test taking strategies so they can score better on the ACT.
- Practice tests for the ACT, SAT, and Advanced Placement tests are also available for free to anyone with a library card through the library website using the “Learning Express Library” service.
- Other online resources for students include academic journals and magazines articles available from “Academic Search Premier” as well as encyclopedias, newspaper articles, and study resources on geography and world cultures.
- The “College & Career Connection” located at the Main Library and Southwest Regional Library connect people to resources to facilitate college access and success. Two AmeriCorps VISTAs were secured to build capacity in this area.
- The “Adult Education Learning Center” provides space at the Main Library and support for the JCPS Adult Education/GED Learning Center so Adults can complete their GED and apply for college admission.
- The library continues to offer free access to Treehouse, an online learning platform for coding, webpage design, and mobile application development, and the Library is exploring ways for learners to gain high school or college credit for badges earned via Treehouse.
In collaboration with JCPS and the Library, the expanded emphasis on education will be achieved through creative partnerships, tutoring and training. We have begun this expansion by partnering with JCPS in the fall of 2015 in the delivery of Chess and Literacy programs at California, Newburg and Southwick Community Centers. Those three sites were also selected by JCPS to host monthly Parent Advocacy Meetings called A Voice for Our Children. Discussions are being held about relocating under-performing tutoring sites to Community Centers.
To help prepare students for success in college, career, citizenship and life, build and open a new South Central Regional Library.
Funding of $6M received from the state through the Public Library Facilities Construction Fund. An additional $6M is being appropriated by LMG. The Library Foundation has pledged to raise $2.5M in donations to cover the balance of costs. Exterior design is completed. Construction bids have been received and are being evaluated. An initial projection has been drafted for the additional staff needed to run the new Regional library. A timeline for the staffing project calls for a budget planning meeting in February 2016 and for positions to be posted in July 2016. A contract has been signed for the opening day collection with Baker & Taylor, and their collection team will be here in November to meet with the selection team at LFPL to begin profiling needs for an opening day collection.
Using Metro's role as a major employer to accelerate attainment, increase the number of employees who earn an Associates/Bachelor's degree by 20% per year.
In 2015, fifteen employees reported that they had been awarded either an Associates or a Bachelor's degree.
In February 2015, a question was added to the Performance Review process asking employees if they had earned a college degree in the past year, what the degree is and in what field. In addition, the Metro Scholarship pilot program in 2014 was a success.
A new Degrees Work Executive Director was hired and has committed work under a contract with Metro Government to provide administration of the scholarship program, as well as conduct a series of education fairs, lunch talks and college coaching beginning January 2016.
In order to make post-secondary education accessible and affordable, provide a tuition assistance program (a minimum of $300,000) to offer support to approximately 150 employees a year.
To date in FY16, $58,076.71 was allocated to 84 participants as of 12/2/15. These numbers reflect the fact that July to November is the slowest period for tuition assistance, with more funds being distributed in late December and late June when traditional semesters end.
In 2013, the LMG-JCPS Commitment to Improve Education Outcomes for Children was signed. Pursuant to the commitment, both JCPS and LMG senior leadership hold quarterly meetings to assess current education outcomes with the aim of releasing a report card on LMG programs and initiatives that assist in the academic success of our youth.
Quarterly meetings continue to be held between JCPS and LMG. Conversations have covered topics such as kindergarten readiness, third grade reading proficiency, and college and career readiness. The Mayor's presentation to the School Board is scheduled for February 2016.
By 2015, facilitate the creation of a functional "cradle to career" pipeline framework in order to coordinate and align "kindergarten readiness" initiatives and "workforce development" initiatives with the community's work in K-12 and 55K.
• The second Cradle to Career Summit was held in September 2015, with four pillars reporting on progress and outline of next steps. Significant input from the community was received. Approximately 150 community members attended the convening.
• Each pillar conducts meetings to address goals, strategies and action steps and the Mayor facilitates cross pillar meetings to address gaps.
• The next Cradle to Career meeting will be in 2016.
In order to make a college education more accessible and affordable, particularly for African American students, we plan to help Simmons College gain designation as an Historically Black College or University (HBCU).
Following a meeting in May, 2015 with Simmons leadership, a city team helped the school with a number of issues, including possible site for student housing, zoning, transportation, Historic Tax Credits, funding opportunities, etc.