That really is good, and I appreciate everyone taking time and coming out today.
It's great to see you.
If you're like me though, I just hadn't really accepted the fact yet that it's February.
It just seems like it was thanksgiving.
I don't know what's happening to time anymore.
I appreciate all of you, and I appreciate the opportunity just to share with you a little bit some of the great work that's going on throughout the district as I talk about the network.
You may recall, I'd really planned to talk about this in august at our conference day.
At that particular time, the events in Charlottesville had just occurred were very much on my mind.
I appreciated the opportunity to just share that.
As I said, I would be back, and I am, to share with you some thinking.
I want to put where we are though in a little bit of context because something has really changed.
I'm in my 40th year working in colleges and universities in various roles, having been everything from in the classroom to having to work the political side in that.
We're at a time that quite honestly, I'd never seen anything quite like it.
You may not see - this actually came out today in Newsweek with the headline "what is college good for? Absolutely nothing," say republicans and some democrats." that's there.
It goes on.
This is a Gallup poll that was just conducted and carried out that points out that when we look at republicans, 67% have very little confidence in colleges and universities, according to Gallup.
Then we look at a pew research poll that was also conducted that 58% of republicans say college and universities have a negative effect in terms of what happens, and one-third of democrats also have lost confidence in terms of what's happening in colleges and universities.
There are some signs of this.
You recall the first week of December the new tax bill came out.
It was as though higher education had a target on its back, specifically designed to send a message.
Even Margaret Spellings who is now the president of the University of North Carolina system, former secretary of education under George W.
Bush, comes out and talks about why are we putting barriers in the way of people getting an education at the very time we need more affordable education for everyone that's there.
The headline, this is out of real clear education that same week, "university presidents, we've been blindsided." part of that speaks to the disconnect that's occurred where many in higher education aren't even aware of the negative attitudes and feelings toward higher education.
Frankly, my role, I have to deal with it all the time every day the realities of that.
It's not limited nationally.
In fact, Dr. Slejko and I were talking.
When we get together with our colleagues in higher education, I had one show just a while back with all the presidents of two-year, four-year private/public institutions in north Texas, this is all that we could talk about, was the attitude of the Texas legislature toward higher education, and the universities took quite a budget cut this past year.
We didn't quite as much at two-year colleges, but the overall attitude is, it says here that CEOs talk about that they feel a loss of respect and support for higher education from lawmakers in Austin.
I can tell you, having sat through hearings, I've seen it first-hand the attacks that are coming today.
It's not even limited there.
Jeffrey Selingo is the editor at large for the Chronicle of Higher Education, put out a book called "college unbound." there were a couple along this theme that came out about the same time.
Basically, what he talks about is what he outlines in the book that he believes today higher education is broken in this country as such.
I'll mention a few more things that he says along the way.
Part of the reason why they're believing this way is that we're seeing gaps in terms of what the economy and the workforce need and what's being produced by colleges and universities.
This is out of the Houston Chronicle just here around the first of the year talking about how badly we're lagging in terms of preparing people for today's workforce and the economy.
We also saw about the same time, this is actually the Hechinger report, is a higher ed publication that really talks about what's going on, that did this piece on how employers had become so frustrated that they're starting their own institutions within their organizations.
In fact, you read on here, Microsoft, which Dallas is the second largest, a number of Microsoft employees in the nation outside of Redmond, Washington, are right here in the north Texas area.
Then this came out just last week.
Matthew Rooney who's director of economic growth at the George W. Bush institute, by the way a friend of ours, we work with him very closely, but he points out that when you look at the data about what's happening in the north Texas area for workforce, he said this is the Achilles' heel of the area.
He talks about the impact.
I want to give a little context from what I see occurring not within our campuses but outside our campuses, and the views that are held by a lot of people today that we're not treated anywhere near the same respect that we have in the past.
Here's I think the reason why.
Since 2008, 99% of all new jobs require some type of post-secondary education that are being created.
I'll get to what's happening now.
Again, this is the Georgetown Center for Education Workforce.
In fact, Tony Carnevale who had just testified before at the US Senate yesterday and talked about this very issue about what's happening with the gap as it relates to the higher ed reauthorization why he believes that we've got to change the structure and the funding of higher education because we're not keeping up.
I'll talk why perhaps a little bit about what this is, but this kind of is the background for looking at why I think networks matter.
This is another of Jeff Selingo who was with the Chronicle of Higher Education.
This is a little editorial that he wrote.
What he talks about is he believed that the answer to the challenges that we face is that, as he says here, higher education leaders need to stop thinking that the only path forward is one that they take alone.
In other words, working in isolation.
And he really talks about without partnerships and without us reaching out and making that happen, we're going to continue to see some of the reaction that we've had.
It is undisputable.
We can't do it alone.
We have to work collaboratively today simply because the economy's changed in the workforce.
I'll go into what it looks at when we look we look just at the north Texas area and what's happening here.
We talk about that we're trying to reach 60% of our adult population have some type of post-secondary degree.
We call this 60x30 Texas.
You've heard of this out of the coordinating board as an over-arching goal.
When we look at our area, when we look at just Dallas county alone, there will be one million illiterate adults in Dallas county by the year of 2030.
I'll show you the trends of what's happening and why we're really headed in the wrong direction and share this with you.
When we look at what's actually occurring today with our population, out of every ten students, and these are students that graduate from high school, 8.4 will graduate in four years; 84%.
8.6, however, aren't actually ready for college, according to their act or sat scores in terms of preparation.
4.1 of those ten don't enroll in post-secondary education in year one after graduating.
We would break out by race.
By the way, race really matters in these discussions because we see real differences there.
You can see Hispanic, 4.7 don't enroll and blacks 3.9 don't enroll.
5.2 won't persist to their second year of college and 7.3 won't ever earn a degree.
In other words, 73% are not earning a degree who go through the system.
In my opinion, this is a definition of a broken system where we need 100% and the best we can get is 27% right now coming forward with a post-secondary credential.
Let's talk about this and put it in context of what we're seeing out there.
There's another problem.
If you notice the slope of this graph, it's going the wrong direction.
We're actually producing less people today than we were as recently as 2014 with a post-secondary credential.
I think some things are happening there that instead at the very time when we need more, we're actually producing less.
You put this in perspective.
Dallas county had almost 25,000 high school graduates in 2010, 18,000 of those never earned any type of post-secondary credential.
We put on here just by comparison, Detroit's at 35%.
I wish I could say everybody's having the same problem, but they're not all having the same problem.
Just looking at this eight graders and actually where are we now, when we look at this six-year completion race, which is kind of the one.
If you're economically disadvantaged, you're even worse than the average.
And so, race matters and economics matter in this.
We see that if you're coming from an economically disadvantaged background, only one in 10 are earning a post-secondary credential.
So 90% aren't getting any type of post-secondary credential of value.
That's skewing it.
The Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article on this.
When you look at the data nationally, pointing out that actually instead of helping address the inequity issue, colleges almost seem to be causing the inequity issue by not supporting those students who are coming from low socio-economic backgrounds, coming from families where there has not been a tradition of going to college.
As we look at it, we see it here.
It's not just a national issue, it's a local issue as well where there are profound imbalances in who gets a degree and who does not get a degree.
As we look now, and again I mentioned race is an important consideration, you saw the economically disadvantaged one in ten when we break it out with race.
We saw that overall, 27% were getting.
That's really skewed by the sheer number of whites that are earning a degree, which tend to be heavily female, by the way, in that.
You look at the number, about 11% of Hispanics earning a post-secondary credential and about 13% of blacks when we look at the six-year completion rate.
The network idea is really designed to address these.
I want to talk about today why it's important, why I think it matters, what are we actually doing to implement it, and then what are the next steps that we can all get engaged in together.
We know, and you know this as well, a network's important because the idea of waiting until students graduate from high school before we connect to them is just simply too late in the process.
That's the old model, let them graduate, let them come in the door and we'll take care of it.
We have today the lowest percentage of adults with a college education in the nation.
That's where we sit today.
This affects the lives of half of our population who are not - on one hand, we see tremendous growth economically that's out there, but half the population is not participating in that.
In fact, the people being left behind are growing at a faster rate than those that are taking advantage of it by several times.
We're leaving entire communities behind in the process.
It's not just individuals.
It's changing neighborhoods, it's changing communities all across the north Texas area, particularly in Dallas county.
As we look at what we see, where we need to be and where we are, that if you can see this here looking at the blue line, the blue line is the trajectory that were on between now and the year 2030.
If something doesn't change, this is where we'll be.
That will put us 40,000 degrees short of hitting our goal of the 60 by 30, by that period of time.
That's kind of the delta.
That's where we see the real challenge in terms of how do we achieve the orange line going forward.
That's what we're really looking to do with a network approach.
One of the things our folks in our labor market office did, they went and looked at it between September 2015 and September 2016.
There were 122,000 jobs created in north Texas.
While the brand new jobs, 99% requires some type of post-secondary education overall when we take that in, including replacing people that were in jobs, 65% fully today require post-secondary education.
Of that, we need about 32% with a bachelor's degree or higher and 33% needing a certificate or an associate's degree, something less than a four-year but more than a high school diploma.
You see, what we have are 37% in the county today is the gap that we're facing.
By the way, how are we filling those jobs? If you do the math on that, that's 335 new jobs a day that were created during that period of time.
In that same period of time, 395 people a day moved in to take those jobs.
That's how we're addressing it today.
I think part of the reason is it's so hard to respond to the needs is we were really designed for a different time.
We were designed as higher education institutions for a time when only about 25% of the population needed a post-secondary credential and we're really structured around that to not be inclusive, but to exclude those who perhaps we judged not necessarily worthy of getting their degree.
That's what's really happened.
Everything has changed today from the point of view of what we need.
The game's changed.
The rules changed.
The players have changed.
Everything about the workforce and economy has changed, but the problem is we're not changing anywhere near as fast enough to even keep up with the changes that are going.
That's why we see businesses trying to work around this.
I believe we're drawing criticism from those in elected offices, among many reasons.
What I'm asking our leadership to do throughout the district is to really focus on how we eliminate barriers and turn those barriers into horizons by removing the friction that students encounter when they're trying to move through the process and getting from where they are in life to where we need them with some type of post-secondary education, and ultimately a great-paying job.
We have to think in terms of all the aspects that are changing.
Jobs changing that are out there today are very different than they've been just ten years ago.
Technology changing so rapidly.
I've been thinking about some of the things.
I happened to have lunch with a person that owns a printing business yesterday, and just talking the degree of technology that they're using and how they can't find people with the technical know-how to keep up with the changes.
Laws are changing, rules and regulation, culture; everything has an impact on us.
We see the policies and rules.
In my career, I can tell you the last ten years there have been more policies and rule changes than I think throughout the rest of history that's ever existed in higher education as folks are trying to micromanage the process when they're not seeing the outcomes that they want to see.
Of course, we're constantly changing faculty, staff, programs, administration.
Even the field of play, online versus site based workplace, high schools, all of that is in constant change.
They are always going to be changing going forward, I think, at an accelerated rate as we look at it.
What we have to do is that I think for a long time, we treated these as transactional engagements rather than to strike a vision of how we solve the problem even with a different game going on.
We need to really be grounded in what we see as the vision for the future for our community college and the district as a whole.
I'll just share that I think it really matters if we believe what we refer to as the DCCCD Way, which is, in order to carry this out the way we look at it, how do we prepare our communities to succeed when we're talking economically? It's going to take a network to do it.
How do we help businesses to prosper and grow and add employees so that we're seeing the number of jobs created continue to expand in our community? We're going to have to work in different ways.
If we can do those, I believe we can inspire individuals to stay in our communities, to help our communities be successful and to take those great jobs that are there.
If that happens, we can improve the quality of life for everyone.
That's really, as we look at the network, why it's important and why we have to tie things together in order to make this.
We need it today, a network approach, I believe.
Our students are suffering.
They're struggling in ways that I've never seen before.
I'm part of an organization of urban colleges that we're having a meeting coming up in march.
They did a little survey to ask us what were the most pressing issues.
I should explain.
This organization is international in scope.
We have colleges from Canada, Europe, elsewhere, all of them urban-based; that's what we share in common.
For the us schools, do you know what the number one pressing problem was? Hunger on the part of their students - food and security across the us.
I have to tell you, our Canadian brothers and sisters couldn't even fathom how that could be an issue.
We know it's an issue here that we face.
We see that in our case across the district, 18% of the students that enroll in their first course never finish their first course.
That automatically is why we don't see people going to the second year either, why there's such a drop-off in there.
One interesting fact is that our most successful students have become very institutionally agnostic.
I just had a meeting with several of them.
You ask them what college they go to, they wait to see where you are and what you're leaning toward before they'll answer because they're going to multiple colleges at the same time.
In fact, these students have double the graduation rate of students that only go to one institution.
They are twice as likely to successfully transfer immediately out once they leave here.
They have a higher grade point average than our students that are going to a single institution.
What this tells me is that, in fact, our most successful students are creating their own network.
They're not waiting for us to do it for them.
They're doing it themselves and designing around a model.
What we really have to do is intentionally build a network for all students rather than to trust our future to the ones that figure it out on their own.
That's where we sit today.
So, what we need to be, I believe, are the leaders in pulling together the components of the network to make sure that we are bringing together in a thoughtful way and an inclusive way the talent, learning, and discovery resources to really help individuals, employers, and our communities be successful and achieve the goals.
I want to talk about just how we're doing because, frankly, there are some indicators that it's not working well for everyone.
We do tremendous work throughout the district.
Our colleges are award winners.
We have been aspen prize finalists, Baldrige Award winners.
We've won award after award from the coordinating board.
I'm really proud of all these achievements because they speak to the dedication of our people.
We don't do what we do to win awards.
It's not always clear, frankly, in some cases how these recognitions actually contribute to the success of our students in terms of what we're about.
What we do is we help individuals achieve their goals and objectives.
We change lives.
This occurs when a student actually completes a high-value certificate or degree and ends up with a great-paying job.
This is where we really want to excel as an institution.
So, how do we stack up? Frankly, it's not all good news when we look at what's happening.
In too many areas, we're first where we want to be last, and we're last where we would want to be first.so, among our peers, let's not even look across the country, let's just look within the state of Texas at where we are, we had the worst six-year graduation rate and are near the bottom in three and four-year graduation rates of our peers.
We are second to the last in transfer to universities.
We're dead last in two-year persistent rates.
We have the highest average student loan debt which boggles my mind because we have the third lowest tuition in the nation.
How in the world could we have a student loan debt at the levels that we're seeing? We are the lowest in earning coordinating board success points, which is how we get 10% of our funding now through that in the state as we look at it.
There are some indications that we need to do some things to really address that.
Somebody will come back - I'll put this up here as we do it — I'm optimistic that this, hopefully, provision won't pass congress but it'll pass the house.
It will be up for a vote here in a couple of weeks, what's referred to as the prosper act, which in the higher education reauthorization.
In this, they put in a new provision for title v, which are minority serving at institutions.
Most of our colleges fall into that category.
Out of the 4,726 colleges and universities in this state that would be eligible, there were 36, when they ran the criteria, that aren't.
Two of them are in our district.
The mathematic odds of that occurring - practically be non-existent.
I'm sure that as we look at that, there'll be challenging issues, well, this wasn't captured in the data or something happened.
Let's go from 99% to 90% or 80%.
What part of the bottom do we want to be in? I think we want to be on the other end of that going forward as we look at how we serve students.
This is based solely on the graduation, the completion rates.
I'll be honest, I put the shocker here.
The two institutions that appeared on the list actually are the best performers with the coordinating board metrics.one of the reasons why they hit there, size actually matters.
When you're a little larger institution, things get masked in the data that gets exposed elsewhere.
So, as we think about how we make the kind of changes, how we create the type of communities we want to live in, the type of employers we want to continue bringing in, we really do need to make some necessary changes in order to help our students be successful because if I don't, if you don't, if we don't, there's nobody else to take this on and to own the responsibility for it.
We have tremendous people working.
I've talked to some, frankly, that are trying to do it on their own, and they're burning out.
We can't do this alone.
Frankly, we can't do this alone as a single college.
We can't even do it alone as a district.
We're going to have to really connect in some different ways.
The real solution is how do we collaborate like we've never collaborated before, bringing together a network of like-minded.
That's key because as we're discovering, not everyone is like-minded.
There are still those that believe it's better to be on their own than collaborating because they value that autonomy more than they value having students be successful and achieve their goals and objectives.
What we're really doing is how do we go beyond ourselves and bring others in that share this common goal, and we're seeing more and more do this.
When I talk about a network, what we're really at the most basic level is talking about a supply and demand issue.
That's making sure that our supply, students, is aligning with the demands, our community and employers that are out there, because we need both.
Individuals need jobs.
They need to have the high salaries.
What we're really looking at doing with a network is bringing together, if you would, creating relationships and resources between individuals, institutions, businesses, non-governmental agencies, looking at schools, universities, working together to accelerate solving the problem with the goal of helping individuals achieve their goals, employers meet their goals, and our communities be successful.
As we look at this, I would call these really the real KPIs, if you would, that what we're about.
When we look at our community, we can project down to the block level what the predictive upward mobility is going to be of individuals.
We can look at the school by school and we can actually calculate what's going to happen.
As we looked at some of the numbers, if only 90% are not earning a post-secondary credential, it's pretty easy to do that calculation.
What we want to be able to do is ensure the upward mobility of all students.
We want to help ensure that everyone has the opportunity for a living wage.
We've talked about life-long learning.
I've been in this business 40 years.
I've heard it for 40 years.
We've talked about it, but we talked about it on our terms, not on the terms of individuals or employers or communities.
We've talked about people can come to us anytime they want, not the other way around that we're constantly engaging and reaching out throughout the course of a lifetime.
We don't have that type of relationship with students where we're connecting over their entire adult life and career.
One of the challenges is that some of the requirements from the accreditors, from the coordinating board, from others, are measuring things that don't matter when it relates to what we're talking about, the success of individuals or the communities.
We end up spending a lot of time focused on those because that's who we're accountable to.
What I'm asking is yes, we have to do that.
That's part of the requirements.
I really believe it's these metrics that matter the most as we look at how do we increase those opportunities for individuals so that they can actually achieve not only their goals and objectives but our community as well.
Then we look at the employers, there are only two ways to grow gdp, gross domestic product.
There are only two ways.
You either increase the size of the workforce or you increase the productivity of the workforce.
It's the only way that happens.
So, in order for our community to be successful, we have to have ongoing economic growth.
I can tell you, if we're not the engine, I don't know who will be, so that our employers can get the talent they need in order to be successful.
We just finished up - the Dallas regional chamber did a survey of 2,000 ceos in north Texas.
Of that, the number one concern was the concern about finding the talent they need in order to grow their business.
The number two concern was retaining that talent because there was so much competition for the skill sets that would get someone trained and then somebody else would hire them away from them in the process.
Of course, what we want to be able to do is help expand and get more investments coming into our community.
We're doing a lot of announcements.
Fortunately, with almost seven million people here, we're handling it with size.
But the day's going to come when that's not going to happen.
As we look at, and I know you probably have your own thoughts on this about why students aren't successful.
There are really some real things that are happening out there that are preventing them from being able to get through the pipeline.
As we think about a network, the issue is not, generally speaking, truthfully the quality of content, it's not the quality of programs, it's not the quality of people that we have working on it.
It's the failure of hand-offs between those systems.
We lose everywhere there's a hand-off, whether it be from one person to another, from one office to another, from a school to college, from college to work.
We lose people in that process.
As we think about it, I mentioned earlier that the senior year is really too late for students to begin making plans for a successful transition to college.
I'll talk about what we're doing there.
The majority, you saw the numbers, 86% are not ready.
They're not academically ready for college.
Most lack any understanding of relevant job information, about what's happening in the economy or the workforce, so they don't know how to make decisions about what they should even study.
They don't understand the aspects of enrolling in college.
We know they show up here without a clue about what it takes.
Once they're here, you may get more emails than I get on this.
I just got one I was reading this morning, a student describing the friction in the process.
Actually, it was a mother describing the friction in the process that her daughter went through.
You add that to our students' encounter of life events as they go through, which are the unanticipated barriers that, frankly, we're not always equipped very well to help them with and get through.
Then you add to that often inadequate communication.
As I talked about, the lack of engagement in life-long learning to really know what's happening with people and where they are, but also, simple things, just getting through the process so there are not surprises in there, as the mother articulated that very well to me in the email today.
The historic way of dealing with this is it's somebody else's fault.
It's the high schools' fault.
It's the parents' fault.
It's the middle schools' fault.
It's the elementary school's fault.
It's early childhood.
Everybody points somewhere.
The four years blame us when they don't believe that students are successful on transfer.
We've tended to point the fingers elsewhere.
Yet, I think it's time that we actually own the whole problem and that we can do something about it.
These are the types of challenges that the network is intended to address.
It's not just focusing on the processes in system.
It targets what's happening between systems to bridge that gap, knowing that that's where we see the greatest loss occur.
What's happening now? What are we doing? Our presidents are coming together, as Dr. Slejko can tell you, like never before.
Meeting on things like guided pathways, looking at how we can work across institutions and ways in sharing programs.
We've got a conversation right now.
We have North Lake working in south Dallas with the Wilmer Hutchins high school, for example, in very different ways.
We are putting in place the new navigators, which will be institution-agnostic adviser type position, but frankly designed, even if they don't want to come to one of our colleges, will help students get what they need, not what we're selling and not what we have to offer.
We will be re-training advisers because if we work in a network, guess what? You've got to know more than just what's happening at one campus or one college or one location if we're really going to be helpful.
We're investing in what we're calling my community services linkages.
Aunt bertha caught up.
Now it's on our webpages as white label.
You'll see the little woman's head on there.
We don't call it Aunt Bertha but it allows students or we have employers using it too, anonymously, if they're hungry; it can tell them to put in their zip code, what's nearby to have those taken care of.
If you need child care services, if you're transportation challenged, if you need health services, mental health, legal; if you're in an abusive situation, it will allow you to get that.
The good news is we get the data; we know what people are looking for out there which I have to say, food is about a two to one issue on there.
People are trying to make sure that they're fed.
Our partnership with dart, which we'll be evaluating that and look what we need to do.
We just finished up a - we're doing a joint proposal with UT Southwestern on offering mental health screening to - I'd like to provide that to 100% of our students.
We're also doing some other push ways of identifying needs that are out and then there's the Dallas county promise, and I really want to just kind of zero in on this because this is really the embodiment of the network.
While we have other examples and I can talk about it with small business, talk about it with others, I really want to focus here and let me start, if you think it's about a scholarship; you've missed the point because it's not and it's not about attending college for free.
It's about removing the friction from the process that gets in the way which money is one of the friction points that occurs.
So, I'm going to kind of talk through this and kind of tie it together as we look at it.
The Dallas County Promise is a network of high schools, colleges, universities, employers, non-profits, individuals that are working together and frankly, when we've got the gates foundation coming in to look at it here in about a month and others because they've never seen anything quite like it occurring anywhere in the nation.
There are over 200 promise programs and what's unique about what we're doing is we're the only one that was started by an institution of higher education.
Every single one of the others; it was a community frankly, that got fed up and tried to come up with a solution or somebody else that's in there; we spent a lot of time now, talking.
We were just on the phone with the mayor's office in Seattle who are looking at how to do this, or the state of Tennessee, but we really have, as we looked at it, taken the point that we want to be the drivers in making this happen and the promise is only about one thing and this is it: eliminating the barriers.
That's all we're trying to do and bring it together so we're doing that by bringing together a network of financial, educational, business, and other resources with the goal of helping every single student succeed and let me kind of talk about what this looks like.
There's so much detail.
I won't hit it all here, but we really start now working with the - once we enter into a partnership, and we do have certain requirements for the schools.
They have to re-brand, spend money to invest in remodeling to brand it with a more collegiate-type environment at least one wing of the school.
They have to agree to a summer bridge program that would help eighth graders coming in and the ninth graders and support them during that transition so that we're less likely to lose them.
The less of a gap we have the fewer numbers that we use.
They have to agree - we're working with a non-profit that is teaching eighth grade teachers how to teach students how to prepare for college and get ready.
In the ninth grade year; we're asking that they focus on reading skills and we pre-impose test that using the TSI.
The 10th grade we're focus on writing and the 11th grade we're focusing on math and right now, all 31 of the schools that we're working with are allowing the associates degree.
We just asked that they provide or let us provide at least 15 hours so that the students can get a strong college experience and earn some credit while they're still in high school and so, during that 11th and 12th grade year we'd like them leaving with a minimum of 15 semester hours.
Each year, one of the things that we've done is we require two business partners for every high school.
For example, it's kind of the extreme; American Airlines and there are a who's who.
We have 60 partners in all that are out there; American Airlines, Southwest, JP Morgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, pretty much Texas Instruments, Children's Hospital, others that are there, but American Airline which is supporting our it program and Adamson has 10 full time people on site every day mentoring with students and supporting them and then providing internships which we ask all the partners to and these are not advisory relationships.
These are really getting into the pedagogy; how people are learning, what really matters from the point of view of jobs that are there and so as we look at it then the senior year we kind of ramp it up with them because if they're an eligible high school then we want 100% of the seniors to declare that they are going to college by Jan. 31 of each year, which was yesterday and I'm delighted to say that out of 31 high schools, 9000 students, 96%, committed to go to college.
That's five times the normal number that we see.
Then, they have to complete their FAFSA by March 31 of the year.
Why? Because it turns out that it's not the economic background that correlates to whether a student will start college; it's whether or not they complete the FAFSA.
That's the one thing that differentiates.
If you don't complete the FAFSA during your senior year you're not going to college.
That's pretty much the way it is.
So, we're focusing on that and then by June 1, requiring that you must enroll in a college.
And then if they do that, then they will be able to attend tuition-free at any one of our seven and I'll talk about who else is joining here in a few minutes.
I mentioned the employers that are in there because ultimately what we want them to do is to create a seamless pipeline all the way from the eighth grade through college to a job and that they can see the whole range from beginning to end; and frankly, we need this type of employer engagement; them coming in for all programs.
You may have read the book from an economist out of George Mason that came out here just a few weeks ago talking about the challenge today because used to, you could; he was talking economics.
He said, "I can't really always help a student prepare for their career because I have to understand the job they're going into in order to really help them adequately prepare to get there.
If I do it in a general way, it's too broad to be of much, much help in today's world where we're really looking at more and more specialization." so, then we look at these: what's in it for the employers? Because the initial conversations were, "well, we've tried to work with schools before, that's out there", but they'd never had the pain frankly, that they're experiencing right now with the inability to find people with the knowledge, skills, and ability that they need in order to grow their work force.
So, what we're really looking at doing then is we need to be aligning our programs to meet the needs of what's going on in the economy because if we're not then we still have this gap, right? That individuals can't see how they can get from where they are to a great, paying job and employers can't find the people that they want.
Then we're bringing in the universities because it's not enough that they just come to one of our seven colleges or all seven colleges or whatever the pattern is being, that we want them to also have a pathway at zero cost on to a baccalaureate, and again, where they align with the regional work force.
So, we're looking at how do we work with the universities, and again, this is where it really becomes willing partners and with the goal of how do we accelerate the time to degree and we've already seen just from where we've gone with the early college high schools; we take two years off the average time.
We've already taken two years off the average time for degree from those schools that we're working with.
So, it's accelerating.
So, here's what we ask of the schools as I mentioned that we want to, before we accept them into the promise, they have got to commit to taking efforts as we just described by making sure that all their graduates are college ready, 14% is just simply not good enough in order to get where we are.
We want a pathway; a career pathway starting the minute they get into the ninth grade that they know the direction to which they're going and how they can get there.
We want those 15 hours before they graduate and we want every student to commit to attend college.
That's the goal of the network.
So, what are we looking at overall as our goal? I believe that we can get 75% of high school seniors to complete the FAFSA. If we do that we will lead the nation in terms of FAFSA completion in our community.
We want to see 90% of the students who enter a transfer program actually transfer.
Today, that's 50% across the district.
Let me back up.
Today, it's 50% not of who enters; it's 50% of those who are fully prepared to transfer.
Half never ever do even after they've invested years and thousands of dollars in the process.
We want 60%; 60 by 30 to graduate within six years of high school graduation with some type of high value certificate or college degree that hopefully aligns with the local labor market.
We want at least 80% of our completers to improve their predicted upward mobility.
Not everyone will, but we can impact that I think in a meaningful way.
Frankly, some of their jobs that they'll choose aren't going to contribute to that either, but that's okay.
We need people there and we want 100% of students eligible to enter the work force.
So, this is looking at the networks' goal.
So, what is our role as colleges, as districts, as leaders? And that really is we're going to have to be the ones that provide the leadership to make this happen.
As I said, if not us, who? Because there's no one else out there looking at bringing it all together to leverage both our internal and external resources.
You know, the Pell grants have always been out there, but we left it completely up to the student in the past, not really bringing together a partnership that's leveraging that and to ensure the success of our students, employers, and our community.
We want to influence the improvement of diversity and inclusion.
We don't want to be institutions supporting inequity in our community.
We want to be relentless in identifying and removing friction from every process and system that's there, and I believe it's going to take a lot of work, but it's doable and frankly, to use our size.
We're the 800-pound gorilla.
We provide 70% of the transfer students in north Texas and about 70% of the students earning a baccalaureate degree in a four-year institution went to a community college.
So, as we look at it, they can't be successful themselves without us in there, and so we want to use that to influence the network as we move.
Why I started talking about this about two years ago; I put this slide up, I think it was red at the time, but where I talk about how community colleges are changing, how when we first started as community colleges you were either a transfer institution or you were a vocational career and technical education institution specialized in that area, but still more merit focused.
They saw their role not much different from the universities.
We then, when we were created as a district, we were one of the first comprehensive colleges that brought together transfer, a career in technical education, continuing education, all the various aspects of that so that we would basically be a one stop shop for education.
As we look at the network, we're really shifting to one where we're putting the student at the center so that just like our students that are creating their own networks, we want to really design it for them so that they can be able to see and chart their own path.
So, we are the ones that then connect the resources to meet their needs not simply be another resource that's available.
So, as we look at — I was hoping to put together a diagram to show kind of what this aspect of the network looks like and frankly, it's just too complicated, so I'll use one example up here with what it is that we're doing.
We're working with the Dallas independent school district; that's one of our school district partners that are out there.
We've brought in the Dallas county promise, which by the way, our foundation is writing a $400,000 a year check to commit to run and create this because we realized we needed to take it outside of the district in order to make that happen.
North lake then plays the role in helping our students whether it's connected to work, whether it's connect to a college or university and SMU and UNT are on here for a reason because they've also committed to be promise institutions as well as we look at it.
So, we've got right now 31 examples of the network functioning, all the way starting in the eighth grade leading all the way to either to a four-year degree job or a certificate in a job or an associate's degree and a job.
It's not enough.
There are 107 high schools in Dallas county.
We need all 107 is our goal.
We also need businesses to join the network because that's an important component.
We need to make sure that we're bringing in universities, other new partners that can help us achieve the goal and I've asked our presidents to lead the way by meeting with superintendents, principals, business leaders, university leaders, others, to try to convince them to join with us to help address these challenges that we see.
So, if we're going to do this, we need all 107 high schools.
I believe we need 12 universities at minimum to join it and we're talking to far more than that right now and because they have to make commitments, too, along the way.
You probably saw the announcement from SMU? They're not going to change their model.
They're not going to be open entry, but what they're going to guarantee are slots just for the promise students to come in and be involved.
I'm asking for our faculty staff, administrators, deans, others, to seek relationships with those outside so that we can figure out how we can bridge and create alignment between what we're doing and what the needs of employers, communities, individuals, and others and change that upward mobility trajectory for our entire community.
We want to this year, we'll fully implement our student navigation system so that we'll have a resource for individuals to use to get from where they are to where they want to go and that we will partner with any organization that will help us meet the needs of our students.
You know, I really believe that our community is counting on us like never before and I really believe as individuals, as programs, as colleges, we simply cannot do it alone.
The problem in the scope of it is just simply too big.
Our success depends on every single one of us using our connections, relationships, expertise to help identify solutions to problems, help identify partners and then help us identify new opportunities because they're not opportunities for us, they're opportunities for students and they're opportunities for our community, and I'm asking you to share these network opportunities with your leadership.
Heck, share them with me.
You know, we're looking at and we're following up on those opportunities.
Your engagement is absolutely critical and truthfully the very future of our community is at stake when we look at what's happening; a slope going in the wrong direction.
We've got to get it in the right direction and we've got to grow it and that's something that we can only do together, and I believe we are positioned like no one else.
I believe we have the right colleges, we have the right people, we have the right leadership in place.
We're in the most supportive community in the nation.
We have great partner high schools who and universities, they're not there reluctantly.
They are calling us to see how that they can be a part of it. We have employers willing to engage and roll up their sleeves.
I mean 10 full time people in a high school working with that? That's real engagement.
We have resources through rising star; that's what is providing the guarantee and level up and by the way, you'll be hearing more about level up in the future.
We're raising 20 million through the foundation for this.
We're doing five pilot high schools this year.
That's the parents for the parents of the students in enrolled in our partner high school so that out of the - we realize that of the 2500 new slots that we opened up for freshmen last year, only 200 of their parents had any type of post-secondary experience so the need there is great.
I really believe that we've got a solution to help every single student succeed unless we try to do it alone, that as long as we are willing to leverage.
You know there's a time where instead of holding a tight, instead of hoarding you have to give it away and we have to partner in some different ways and realize that we can't own everything in order to be successful.
And I have to say as I have never in my career been more optimistic, more excited about our ability to solve some of these challenging problems, yes, but we can do it and thank you so much for what you do every day.
I greatly appreciate it.
It's great to be here.
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