Goal Three: High School, College and Career Success

Source: 2017 Blueprint Annual Report

Why We Care

The turn of the 21st century is more than a decade behind us, and economist predictions of an increasingly complex, global, high tech world seem mild when set against the realities of mismatched needs and skills experienced by American industry and workers in the last few years. These experiences underscore the importance of creating an educated and versatile workforce to maintain regional economic strength and global competitiveness. Here in Central Texas:

  • Conservative estimates show that each year’s cohort of dropouts costs the region more than $370 million in cost to society over the course of their lives.[i]
  • By 2018, 2 out of 3 American jobs will require at least some post-secondary education, yet just 29% of Central Texas high school graduates receive any postsecondary credential within 6 years, and just 12% of low income graduates.[ii]
  • While high school graduation rates have been steadily increasing, graduates enrolling in higher education within a year of graduating has dropped, and college completions are flat. (also footnote ii)
  • We know that students who complete advanced math in high school are 3 times as likely to get a postsecondary credential within 6 years, yet our low income students are 2 ½ times less likely to be on an advanced math pathway than our non-low income students.[iii]

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[i] E3 Alliance analysis of TEA drop out data based on NCES estimate of societal costs of drop outs

[ii] E3 Alliance analysis of data at the UT Austin Education Research Center

[iii] E3 Alliance Pathways of Promise analysis of data at the UT Austin Education Research Center

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Accomplishments
  • ACAN partners delivered professional development to 250 counselors and student success practitioners across Central Texas on key topics supporting student access and success.
  • E3 Alliance partnered with Austin ISD, Workforce Solutions Capital Area and ESC Region 13 to create and implement When I Grow Up career exploration curriculum for targeted occupations. Every elementary school counselor in Central Texas received this curriculum.
  • Since 2008, two dozen district, higher education, and industry partners have been working with E3 Alliance to galvanize STEM pathways. There are now 10,382 secondary students in the Engineering Pipeline, an increase of 700% since 2008 — growth that is unprecedented in the nation.
  • E3 Alliance’s ground-breaking longitudinal study on elementary through middle school math pathways revealed that our most academically prepared low-income and minority students are less likely to enter rigorous math pathways than their peers.
  • Math teachers at 13 middle and intermediate schools received intensive math instruction training provided by UT’s Center for STEM Education, impacting 10,000 students.
  • Our region’s second annual College Signing Day was a huge success! The University of Texas at Austin hosted 1,330 students from 32 high schools who committed to higher education completion.

Initiatives
  • Pathways of Promise Initiative

Funded by the Greater Texas of Texas, Pathways of Promise (PoP) is a research and implementation initiative in Central Texas designed to strengthen Career and Mathematics Pathways to help students succeed in college and careers. E3 is driving research into action by partnering with 13 local school districts and 4 colleges which have made a commitment to address the region’s equity gap for minority and low-income students’ placement into Algebra I by 8th grade. Our research shows the importance of advanced mathematics beyond Algebra II for postsecondary degree completion, particularly credentials aligned with high-wage, high-skilled jobs in targeted industries. We are utilizing a K-16 approach to identify systemic challenges and to bring to scale promising practices and policy changes to achieve our State’s vision for postsecondary attainment as laid out in the 60x30TX Strategic Plan for Higher Education.

Links for material:

  • Austin College Access Network

The Austin College Access Network (ACAN) is a coalition of 10 community-based organizations dedicated to improving first generation college success. ACAN brings institutions of higher education from across the region together to share best practices to improve support services, track student trends and identify policies that hinder student success. In 2016, colleges leveraged a common FERPA-compliant student data sharing process, the first of its kind in the nation, enabling partners to utilize data to identify common targets with the goal of
improving college completion. Over the past four years, 900+ counselors have participated in ACAN workshops containing best practices curated from these partners. Moreover, 70+ students have received emergency bridge grants to keep them enrolled in college through unexpected crisis. In 2015 ACAN partnered with the Austin Opportunity Youth Collaborative to leverage resources and scale best practices in a model of braided services impacting 12,000+ students.

Links for material:

  • College Signing Day

Blueprint leaders are committed to increasing college enrollment to 70% by 2020. This goal can only be reached by a culture shift that ALL students deserve to exit high school college-ready and prepared for a lifetime of learning. Businesses, universities, school districts, and non-profits came together at the Third Annual Central Texas College Signing Day at Concordia University on April 29, 2017. More than 30 schools participated in this event, bringing 1,000+ first generation graduating seniors and 8th graders together to celebrate their commitment to degree completion.