We have a problem
Only one third of Multnomah County high school students will go on to college. Only half will finish. These facts seem stark, but what do they really mean?
People with an associate's degree earn $8,000 more per year than people with a high school diploma, and $17,000 more with a bachelor's degree. For individuals, not going to college means:
- Fewer opportunities to earn a living wage
- An increased likelihood of needing public assistance
- A legacy for their children that does not include higher education
For our communities, fewer college graduates means fewer people to do the jobs that keep our city running and our economy healthy. A community's educational attainment and its economic prosperity are directly linked. According to CEOs for Cities, if Portland could increase its college degree attainment rate just one percent, the region would produce an additional $1.6 billion in per capita income.
But now, with so few Multnomah County high school students earning college degrees, there will not be enough skilled workers to replace retiring professionals. For the first time, Oregon's younger generation is less educated than its older one.
There is a solution
To address this problem, the City of Portland turned to Portland Community College, with its decades of proven success helping students earn associate's degrees, transfer to universities and become work-force ready. Together, they spearheaded Future Connect, which targets low-income, first-generation college students that have shown promise for succeeding in college, but face barriers to success.
Future Connect opens the door to college — each student receives a scholarship, based on their financial need. Without this money, these students would not have a shot at college.
But it's the one-on-one support students receive at PCC that makes this program stand out. Future Connect helps students go to college and graduate from college. When students enter the Future Connect program, they meet the college success coach that will help them overcome obstacles and stay in school. Coaches mentor students throughout their college careers with personal, in-depth counseling. They are there to help them manage college classes, juggle childcare, tackle homework, find transportation, and overcome self-doubt. Future Connect helps students get there.
In fall 2011, Future Connect welcomed its first class to PCC. Of these 150 students, 75% percent are students of color; 95% are the first in their families to go to college.
When you make a gift to the PCC Foundation to invest in Future Connect, the City of Portland will double your gift as part of a generous matching challenge, up to $500,000 each year, to support this innovative solution.
- Give online
- Call the PCC Foundation at 971-722-4382
- Mail a check, payable to the "PCC Foundation":
P.O. Box 19000
Portland, OR 97280