A new college experience will help sustain area revitalization efforts

Greater Cleveland is enjoying a resurgence, and while we have won the 2016 Republican National Convention, and revitalization projects have hit an all-time high, Greater Clevelanders must sustain the current revitalization, extend it to the entire community and build it upon a solid foundation that includes a skilled and educated workforce.

This effort must include an emphasis on the current generation, which faces many challenges in our region and across our nation. Today, the educational attainment of Americans age 25 to 34 is ranked 14th among 39 developing countries. At the state level, Ohio is ranked 38th in degree completion. And, the skills gap in Cleveland means that only six in 10 workers are prepared for today’s high skill, high wage jobs.

A new college experience

In response to this new form of “A Nation at Risk,” Tri-C is striving to increase educational attainment by redesigning, reinventing and resetting the college experience.

This entails collaborating with K-12 partners, including the Cleveland Metropolitan School District and other local districts to more closely align high school and college coursework through initiatives like the Higher Education Compact and Tri-C’s College Pathway Programs. Already, Tri-C has placed six student success centers in high schools across the city.

Once students arrive at Tri-C, mandatory and intentional programs in and out of the classroom ensure that students connect with the college, take responsibility for their own education and have the tools they require to succeed.

For example, this year the college has introduced a comprehensive First Year Experience program that provides a mandatory student success course for all first-time students. Coinciding with this course is compulsory test prep and the Bridge Program in English and mathematics that enable students to move more quickly to college-level coursework. And we are seeing remarkable results.

Removing barriers

Tri-C is seeking to reduce financial barriers to education through programs like the tuition guarantee, textbook affordability, the RTA U-Pass and an incentive program for students who complete at least 15 credits per term.

Inspired by the example of the Cleveland Clinic and others, the college has established benchmarks for student success efforts and will be sharing with stakeholders the progress in a transparent manner.

None of this would be possible without a strong collaborative environment between the faculty and administration, as they seek to solve difficult problems together and rejoice together over the achievements.

Tri-C celebrated one of its greatest successes when Cuyahoga County voters approved the Issue 6 operating levy in November. Thanks to this measure, Tri-C will continue to provide quality, affordable education. Students will continue to be prepared for transfer to four-year universities and for fulfilling careers in our region’s workforce.

And together, the work continues across the community to ensure that Tri-C continues the momentum.

Together, it will be proven that the current revitalization in Cleveland is not just a hopeful promise, but also a sustainable pathway to prosperity for all.

This is the community’s future. And thanks to the community’s support, Tri-C will continue to be where this future begins.