Oakland University joins Detroit Regional Talent Compact

Partnership includes action plans from state of Michigan and regional business, education, and philanthropic organizations to address education data and COVID-19 disruption

Oakland University, Detroit Regional Chamber, Talent Compact, 60x30

icon of a calendarOctober 2, 2020

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Oakland University joins Detroit Regional Talent Compact
Oakland is part of 35 statewide and regional partners who have adopted the shared goals to increase post-secondary degree attainment to 60% and reduce the racial equity gap by half by 2030.

Oakland University has joined partners in government, business, education, and philanthropy by signing on to the Detroit Regional Talent Compact. The Compact, a collective impact effort, led by the Detroit Regional Chamber’s Detroit Drives Degrees initiative, is a 10-year roadmap for rebuilding the workforce talent pipeline in Southeast Michigan.

"The Compact represents a model of regional cooperation and is a catalyst to heighten public awareness about the pressing need to support higher education so Michigan can maintain an educated workforce and strong economy," said Oakland University President Ora Hirsch Pescovitz."Our effort effectively demonstrates that, with wide-ranging collaboration, we can improve access to education and expand opportunities that lead to a better future for all of us.”

Oakland is part of 35 statewide and regional partners who have adopted the shared goals to increase post-secondary degree attainment to 60% and reduce the racial equity gap by half by 2030. Each partner has created an individual action plan to achieve these goals. The Compact represents a new level of collaboration in this critical area.

“The State of Education report we released last December was alarming and COVID-19 will only make things worse if we don’t take action to increase the highly-skilled talent in our region,” said Sandy K. Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “These times call for a new strategy and unprecedented collaboration. The Detroit Regional Talent Compact is a blueprint to create a more robust and inclusive talent pipeline to drive economic growth as we navigate the impact of the pandemic in the decade that follows.”

The State of Education report highlighted that:

  • 47% of Detroit regional students who pursue post-secondary education, have not earned a degree or certificate within six years of graduating from high school.

  • Further, the region has some of the largest racial gap graduation rates in the country, with 60% of white students graduating and only 26% of Black students (based on six-year graduation rates).

  • Only 17% of individuals without a college degree earned a family-sustaining wage in the region, and 69% of city of Detroit residents ages 18-64 without a high school diploma are either not in the labor force or underemployed.

The Detroit Regional Talent Compact includes a Regional Master Plan comprised of four major focus areas – increasing post-secondary access, post-secondary success, adult educational attainment, and talent preparation. Seventeen specific strategies, many of which are national best practices, have been identified to assist in meeting the stated goals. Each partner organization created a plan targeting one or more of the focus areas using the identified strategies. Partners’ plans use innovative techniques and unprecedented collaborative approaches to reach the Compact’s 2030 goals. Some highlights include:

  • Reducing the racial equity gaps by half. In order to achieve this goal, more than 90,000 Black and 15,000 Latinx students will need to earn degrees in the next decade. Combined, this represents 40% of the new 265,000 projected and additional degrees Detroit residents of all races and ethnicities need to earn by 2030. The Compact consists of the strategic framework to reach these racial equity goals by implementing proven and targeted supports to students who need it most.

  • Developing a higher education agenda to increase degree and credential completion. Twelve post-secondary institutions and associations committed to education reforms such as offering a post-secondary transition course to high school students prior to that student falling behind in college or expanding debt forgiveness to reduce barriers for returning adult students.

  • Unprecedented collaboration between Macomb, Oakland, Wayne Intermediate School Districts, DPSCD, and a coalition of charter school groups to incentivize full- and part-time students to maximize credits. K-12 stakeholders pledged to implement best practices to increase early post-secondary options and provide comprehensive college and career advising curricula. Notably, the Detroit Charter High School Collaborative committed to having 90% of their high school graduates earn a full year’s work of college coursework by 2030.

  • Increasing number of employers providing tuition assistance to employees. Many business signatories of the Compact committed to building new or expanding existing tuition assistance programs and some are going so far as to also offer loan forgiveness programs for employees with student debt. This is significant as most experts predicted COVID-19 would cause employers to scale back these kinds of benefits.

  • Philanthropic partners for the first time ever have created a coordinated framework to fund the strategies outlined in the Compact. This collectively represents over $18 million in aligned giving to the four focus areas outlined in the Regional Master Plan.

Businesses and other organizations looking become a Detroit Regional Talent Compact partner can visit:

Detroit Drives Degree logo

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