One of the most pressing challenges our nation faces is preparing a college-educated workforce. By 2018, more than 60% of jobs will require some form of college education, but today only 40% of Americans earn an associate degree or bachelor’s degree by age 27. A recent Georgetown study highlighted that Americans who haven’t earned a college degree or credential are 55% more likely to be unemployed, and the gap in lifetime earnings between a high school graduate and a four-year degree holder is edging close to a million dollars.
40% Today only 40% of Americans earn an associate degree or bachelor’s degree by age 27.
Recognizing the urgency to remain competitive in the global labor market, the completion agenda has emerged as a national imperative to produce more college graduates. Extending from the White House to national organizations and foundations, states, and post-secondary institutions there is a call to significantly raise the nation’s college completion rates.
In 2011, CEOs for Cities announced the National Talent Dividend $1 Million Prize Competition, funded by the Kresge Foundation, to be awarded to the metropolitan area with the greatest proportionate increase in the number of post-secondary degrees over a four-year period.
A total of 57 cities participated in the competition, with another handful of U.S. cities participating in the network. In March 2014, Living Cities joined with CEOs for Cities as a partner of the Talent Dividend Prize and, jointly with the Kresge Foundation, announced Akron, OH the winner of the $1 Million Prize on Wednesday, October 29, 2014.