Governor’s Education Excellence Commission
The Commission’s long-term action plan for the state is predicated on the goal that, by the year 2020, 66 percent of all Utahns ages 20 to 64 will have a postsecondary degree or certificate. The Commission, a group of education, business, legislators, and community leaders, are the ones that recommended the Governor establish the Utah Women’s College Task Force because of the direct alignment with their mission and vision for the future.
To meet Utah’s education and workforce needs, the Board of Regents and Commissioner of Higher Education have adopted the big goal for Utah: to have 66% of Utahns—men and women age 25 to 64—with a postsecondary degree or certificate by the year 2020; specifically, to have 55% of Utah’s workforce with an associate’s degree or higher and 11% with a postsecondary certificate that leads to a livable wage. To achieve this, the state must address three strategic priorities:
- Increase the rate of student participation in higher education (postsecondary education programs).
- Increase the rate of student completion in their chosen field of study or training.
- Increase the level of economic innovation.
Although the work on increasing the number of females attending and graduating from college related to all three strategic priorities, the Initiative will be most closely aligned with the first two. The Board of Regents and Commissioner also proposed a five-point Action Plan that incorporated the three strategic priorities into five focus areas. This Initiative is closely aligned with the following two items: 1) expand the pipeline of college/career-ready and college-inclined high school graduates, and 2) stop leakages in the higher education pipeline by increasing the number who persist and complete their education once they enter college. Hence, this Initiative aligns closely with the strategic priorities and action plans of the Board of Regents and the Commissioner of Higher Education.
The Utah State Board of Education’s strategic plan includes the goal that, by the year 2020, 66 percent of all Utahns ages 20 to 64 will have a postsecondary degree or certificate. The State Board has the constitutional charge to “secure and perpetuate” freedom through education. Accordingly, the Board through general control and supervision of all K-12 public schools has focused on four core “promises” that anchor a strategic plan: ensuring literacy and numeracy for all Utah children, providing high quality instruction for all Utah children, establishing curriculum with high standards and relevance for all Utah children, and requiring effective assessment to inform high quality instruction and accountability. This Initiative works hand in hand with the USOE to provide resources for teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors that will help them better serve girls and young women in Utah.
Prosperity 2020 is the largest group of business leaders ever assembled to improve the Utah economy by enhancing education. It is a movement that is calling for bold innovation and investment in public and higher education to support the workforce and propel Utah’s economy. This group believes that investment in education is critical to a vibrant economy and that education is the path to enduring prosperity. One of the three Prosperity 2020 goals is that two-thirds of Utahns have skilled trade certificates or academic degrees. Prosperity 2020 outlined “Seven Reasons to Care” and one of these is the low female completion rate in Utah. The Initiative is directly aligned with the goals and work of the Utah Women’s College Task Force and the Utah Women and Education Initiative.
The mission of United Way of Salt Lake “is to improve lives and build strong communities by uniting individuals and organizations with the passion, expertise, and resources needed to solve problems.” They envision a “community where all individuals and families achieve their potential through education, income stability, and healthy lives,” and they believe advanced education is the key to meeting these community goals. United Way facilitates the Women’s Philanthropic Network, which has taken on a specific initiative, titled “Women for Educational Achievement” as one of their two primary foci. They are specifically working on efforts to help more girls and teens obtain postsecondary degrees.