Six Questions You Might Have about Ohio’s Postsecondary Attainment Goal

Six Questions You Might Have about Ohio’s Postsecondary Attainment Goal

To increase postsecondary attainment in Ohio, a committee of education leaders across the state partnered with the Ohio Department of Education to set a statewide postsecondary attainment goal. In May 2016, the Ohio Department of Higher Education announced a goal of having 65% of adults hold a postsecondary degree (two or four year), credential or certificate by 2025. In 2018, Governor John Kasich codified this goal into law as part of the state’s annual budget. The law mandates that the chancellor of the Ohio Department of Higher Education report annually on the State’s progress toward the 65% goal. 

This blog answers six of common questions regarding the state’s attainment goal.   

Why did Ohio set an attainment goal? 

The attainment goal was set to reduce a growing gap between the existing skills of Ohio’s residents and the changing demands of employers. Ohio’s economy has been shifting for decades from one that was highly industrial to one that is more service-based. In the first decade of the 21st century, nearly 40% of manufacturing jobs were lost. This decline was exacerbated by the recession, when 166,000 manufacturing jobs were lost.  

Ohio’s shifting economy reflects national trends. The nation lost 8 million jobs during the recession (2007-2010), the majority of which required limited to no education beyond a high school diploma in industries like manufacturing or construction. Notably, since the recovery began in 2010, 11.5 million of the 11.6 million jobs created have required some postsecondary education (2010-2015). In other words, 99% of the jobs created since the recession require some education beyond a high school diploma.  

If Ohio wants to continue to make economic gains, and promote the well-being of its citizenry, more individuals must continue their education and develop the skills needed for employment in a 21st century economy. 

Why did Ohio set 65% as its goal? 

The goal serves as a bold estimate of where the economy is moving and what skills Ohioans needs for full-time employment. Further, individuals with education beyond a high school degree have a higher earnings potential, are less likely to be unemployed and are more likely to be civically engaged. 

When the 65% goal was announced in 2016, 43% of working age Ohioans held a postsecondary certificate or above while 56% of in-demand jobs at the time required some education beyond a high school diploma. Further, the highly-respected Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce (Georgetown CEW), estimated that by 2020, 64% of jobs in Ohio would require some education beyond a high school diploma.  

What does the attainment goal measure? 

The attainment goal measures working-aged adults ages 25-64 that hold a degree, certificate or other postsecondary workforce credential of value in the workplace by 2025.  

The goal is not disaggregated based on race and ethnicity and it does not includes subgroup goals. However, when we look at the postsecondary attainment rates by race and ethnicity in Ohio, it is obvious that there are major disparities that need to be addressed if we are to substantially increase postsecondary attainment.  Notably, 67% of Asian Americans have postsecondary education, as do 39% of Caucasians, 25% of African Americans and 24% of Hispanics. College enrollment among Ohio residents when disaggregated by race/ethnicity closely aligns with these attainment rates.  

Policymakers and practitioners must closely monitor these disparities and provide resources to ensure that there is equitable support for populations that have low-postsecondary attainment rates.  

Do other states have attainment goals?  

Statewide postsecondary attainment goals date back to the late 1990’s. In a 2005 Jobs for the Future report, 24 states were listed as having at least one goal related to college enrollment, retention or graduation. 

In 2009, President Barack Obama set a national postsecondary attainment goal of 60% of 25-34 year olds earning an associates or bachelor’s degree by the year 2020. That same year, the Lumina Foundation set a postsecondary attainment goal for 60% of 25-64 year olds earning a high-quality certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree by 2025. Since, more than 30 states have set an attainment goal. 

Is Ohio on track to meet its goal? 

At the time of the announcement, the postsecondary attainment rate in Ohio was 43%. In 2018, the postsecondary attainment rate is 44%.  The state is not on track to reach its 65% goal. 

Ohio has already implemented policies to promote college going and completion initiatives across the state. Ohio has also eased the process of transferring from one college to another, expanded College Credit Plus so that more students are able to graduate from high school with some college credit and is helping adult learners return to higher education. 

The state is working in partnership with a committee comprised of Ohio’s major education groups including Philanthropy Ohio, the Inter-University Council, and the Ohio Association of Community Colleges; collective impact conveners like the Higher Education Compact; and college access groups like College Now Greater Cleveland to help drive these efforts.  

If Ohio wants to reach its 65% goal, more intensive policy and grassroots efforts are needed. Here is a link to a one-pager that outlines additional strategies needed to reach the 65% goal.  

What happens if Ohio misses the 65% attainment goal?  

Nothing. This goal is ambitious (requiring an additional 1.7 million degrees!) and will be difficult to reach. However, we must take it seriously if we want to create strong communities with jobs that can support a middle class lifestyle.

Without Advisor Carolyn Beeler, College Now Alum Greg Moore Says He Wouldn’t Have Gone to College

Without Advisor Carolyn Beeler, College Now Alum Greg Moore Says He Wouldn’t Have Gone to College

Greg Moore was in a panic. It was the spring of his senior year at Glenville High School, and his friends had all started to receive their college acceptance letters. Greg didn’t understand – weren’t you supposed to apply to college after you graduated from high school? When did all his classmates fill out applications?

“Remember all those meetings with college recruiters and the guidance counselors that you blew off?” Greg’s friends reminded him. “That’s what those meetings were for.”

As the first in his family to approach high school graduation and even begin to think about college, Greg hadn’t understood the college application and selection process. And now, he was paying for it. He rushed to his counselor’s office, who was too busy to help him. Desperate, Greg turned to the only available person in the office, a Cleveland Scholarship Programs advisor in her second year on the job named Carolyn Beeler.

Carolyn listened to Greg and reviewed his situation. Honestly, she told him, she wasn’t quite sure what could be done at this point, but she was going to try. She knew the Associate Director of Admissions at Ohio Wesleyan University, so she gave him a call. Greg listened to their conversation, as Carolyn told him that she was sitting with a great student who had made a mistake and could he please just take a look at him? When Carolyn got off the phone, she told Greg that, if he could get down to Ohio Wesleyan that weekend to meet with the Associate Director of Admissions, he had a shot at acceptance. Greg agreed. Before he left, he asked, “Why did you say all that about me? You don’t even know me.”

“Because,” Carolyn replied, “if you don’t speak up for yourself, or find someone to speak up for you, who will?”

That weekend, Greg got on a bus and travelled to Ohio Wesleyan University. “I can do this,” he thought. “I’m going to do it.” Upon his return to Cleveland, Greg and Carolyn sat down and filled out his application. In June, Greg was accepted into Ohio Wesleyan. Carolyn helped him fill out his financial aid paperwork, and he was off.

“The rest,” Greg says, “is history.”

It was at Ohio Wesleyan that Greg discovered his love of journalism. As a student, he created his own paper on campus, and graduated in 1976 with his Bachelor’s degree in journalism and political science. He went to work for the Journal Herald in Dayton for years, followed by a six-year tenure at the Cleveland Plain Dealer, where he served as a reporter and editor. In 1986, Greg went to work for the Boston Globe, where he spent 16 years; he became managing editor of the newspaper in 1994. In 2002, Greg left the Globe and assumed the role of Editor in Chief at the Denver Post, a position he held for 14 years. During that time, Greg led the Denver Post to four consecutive Pulitzer Prizes, a feat, he notes, only The New York Times has also accomplished.

Throughout his career, Greg frequently thought back to Carolyn Beeler, the advisor who was so responsible for his postsecondary journey. He tried to find her, but she had left College Now and he couldn’t find where she was now working. One day, though, fate intervened for the second time in the pair’s relationship.

Greg was a member of Ohio Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees, and an Ohio Wesleyan admissions officer approached him at a meeting on campus one day. She had been in Northeast Ohio for a college fair, she said, and a woman noticed her Ohio Wesleyan pin and asked her if she knew of one of her former students, Greg Moore. The woman, it turned out, was Carolyn Beeler, now a counselor in the Beachwood schools.

Greg and Carolyn were reunited in the 2000s, and Carolyn and her husband were in the audience when Greg was inducted into the Ohio Foundation of Independent College’s Hall of Excellence in 2015. Greg and Carolyn had the opportunity to connect again in June of this year when Greg returned to Cleveland for College Now’s annual Invest in Success event.

Celebrating the organization’s 50th anniversary, Invest in Success this year honored the four funders that have bene supporting College Now from its inception in 1967 – the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, the John Huntington Fund for Education and the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation. Greg served at the event’s featured speaker and spoke to the impact that College Now had on his life and continues to have on the lives of students throughout Greater Cleveland.

As part of Greg’s visit to Cleveland, he also returned to Glenville High School for a lunch with College Now AmeriCorps members. During the lunch, Greg shared his story with the AmeriCorps members present and discussed with them the importance of the work they have been throughout their past year of service. AmeriCorps members also had the opportunity to ask Greg questions about his career and educational journey, as well as share information about their own career ambitions.

Greg Moore is just one example of the individuals who have been helped by College Now throughout our first 50 years of service to the Greater Cleveland, and we are beyond grateful for his support of College Now at Invest in Success in June.

To read more about Greg and College Now, check out this article from You can watch Greg’s speech from Invest in Success on our YouTube channel, and see more pictures from the event on our Facebook.