RI Partnership Project Recommends Ways to Boost Completion Rate in Degree Programs

Tim Goral's picture

Task force reports on college retention and the workforce have come and gone, like the white fuzz on dandelions that blows away with the first puff.

But the leaders behind the latest report, to be released Tuesday, say these recommendations will not gather dust on a shelf.

"We have a history of coming together [to issue reports] and letting them go," said Ron Wolk, the founder of Education Week, a national magazine for teachers. "We're going to make this happen. We're going to push until we get something done."

A diverse team of leaders in industry, education and government have come up with plans to improve the number of youth and adults who earn their college degrees. Dan H. Pink, author of the best-sellers "Drive" and "A Whole New Mind," will be the keynote speaker at Tuesday's event at the Providence Marriott.

"What makes this different? The scope of the people involved," said Neil Steinberg, executive director of the Rhode Island Foundation. "It's a good blend of government, institutions of higher education, and most importantly, representatives from the private sector.

The initiatives are aimed at addressing Rhode Island's vexing conundrum: a high college dropout rate combined with a dearth of skilled workers. Nationally, only about 35 percent of fulltime students graduate with a bachelor's degree in four years.

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