State leaders gave their full support to the work of the Commonwealth Education Continuum, a multi-agency effort launched last year to improve Kentucky’s education for the workforce.
Co-chaired by Lieutenant Governor Jacqueline Coleman, CPE Chair Aaron Thompson and Education Commissioner Jason Glass, the continuum is made up of 28 members whose expertise ranges from early childhood to workforce development .
“I am so excited to work with the Commonwealth Education Continuum. This initiative allows us to examine our education and workforce system at a macro level, then drill down to identify and address the gaps and barriers that are preventing Kentuckians from truly succeeding,” said Lt. Governor Jacqueline Coleman.
Last September, the group released its top three priorities for improving successful transitions from high school to college.
• employing more academic advisors to help students plan and make the transition to post-secondary education
• improve access to dual credit and other college preparatory programs for all students and
• diversify the teaching body by attracting more men and people of color.
To help fund this work, CPE has included a budget request for $1,280,500 for fiscal year 2022-23 and $3,280,500 for fiscal year 2023-24 in its agency budget to support this work. If funded during the legislative session, the budget will provide sufficient resources to implement the post-secondary transition component and expanded access to early college opportunities.
“For Kentucky to have a highly skilled workforce and a thriving economy, we must improve student transitions into college and close the gaps in opportunity and success for historically underserved students of color. and students from low-income backgrounds,” Thompson said. “These are urgent priorities that deserve the full support of our state.”
Because students often experience the most difficulty when reaching major transition points, such as the transition from high school to college, the Transition to Post-Secondary Education priority aims to strengthen post-secondary transition counseling practices through creating local communities of practice and state and national networks to help school counselors, college and professional coaches, and family resource and youth service center coordinators better understand the ever-changing post-secondary landscape and opportunities across the state.
The second priority—improving access to dual credit and other early postsecondary opportunities—will help more students jump-start college and lower their college costs as they earn college credits in high school. While CPE research shows these courses increase college enrollment, on-time graduation, and help expose students to career opportunities, results vary by race, gender, and achievement. .
To expand access to dual credit opportunities to students of all socioeconomic and ability levels, the continuum will focus on developing a toolkit to identify and share best practices, creating an online interactive counseling tool and the reinstatement of the Dual Credit Advisory Board.
The Kentucky research also underscores the urgent need to diversify the teaching staff. Students are twice as likely to be male as their teacher, and minorities make up 23% of public school students but only 4.8% of teachers.
To implement this priority, the group recommends a recruitment campaign that emphasizes the importance and benefits of the profession, increasing retention and advancement opportunities for teachers and administrators, with a focus on groups underrepresented.
“We are pleased to advance the important work of the Commonwealth Education Continuum,” said Education Commissioner Jason E. Glass. “We know that all of our graduates will need some type of training beyond their high school diploma to be productive citizens and successfully pursue their passions in life. We are proud to work with such an amazing group of people to find ways to help our students make this transition from high school to post-secondary training easier and more successful.