Newscasts

PNS Daily Newscast - UPDATE - November 20, 2018 


The death toll rises in a deadly shooting at a Chicago hospital. Also on the Tuesday rundown: community health centers rise to the challenge after wildfires; plus food inspectors can keep your Thanksgiving meal hearty and healthy

Daily Newscasts

More Educated Than Ever – but Not Enough for Future Workforce

PHOTO: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Des Moines Area Community College in 2012 for a town hall on increasing graduation rates. Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Education
PHOTO: U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan visited Des Moines Area Community College in 2012 for a town hall on increasing graduation rates. Photo credit: U.S. Dept. of Education
February 10, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa - Americans have, on average, more years of higher education than ever, but with significant gaps among races. Efforts in Iowa aim to close that inequality, with future economic vitality on the line. The latest figures show that nearly one-third of adults age 25 and older have completed at least four years of college, but for African-Americans, that drops to 22 percent and for Hispanics, it's just 15 percent.

Improving those rates across the board is a main focus, according to M.J. Dolan, executive director of the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees.

"Many of our colleges are making special efforts to work with the immigrant populations and the minority populations," she pointed out. "Our future workers are going to be our new Iowans, and it's important that they have the language skills and the educational skills for business."

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the rate of Americans who completed at least four years of high school also reached a new high last year, at nearly 90 percent.

There are a number of hurdles that can keep people from attending or completing college, including the lack of money and overall support. Dolan said offering help in those areas through connections with local nonprofits is another of the ongoing strategies.

"We work with them to see if we can help with the situation," she said. "If they can't pay for day care for a week or they have a situation where they don't have transportation, we are working closer than ever with those local community assistance agencies, so that we can provide resources and solutions to those type of problems, and keep 'em in college."

The efforts are part of the Iowa Community College Completion Initiative, launched in response to the National Completion Agenda. That goal is to reach 60 percent degree attainment in the U.S. by 2020.

The Iowa Community College Completion Initiative is at IACCTG.com. Census educational attainment statistics are at Census.gov.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA