Transition from high school to postsecondary soon to be seamless

By KBJR News 1

December 3, 2013 Updated Dec 3, 2013 at 11:08 AM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- By the year 2020, 74% of jobs in Minnesota will require some postsecondary education.

Regional high school leaders and postsecondary educators met Monday in Duluth to discuss changing the way we look at the shift from high school to postsecondary in order to make it a more seamless transition.

In a matter of years, half the jobs throughout Minnesota will require a bachelor's degree or beyond, while much of the other half will require a certificate, diploma or associate's degree.

"In the past a high school diploma could guarantee you work and a meaningful way of life, and a four year degree was really your ticket to prosperity," said Josh Collins of the Minnesota Department of Education.

However, today that's not the case.

To prepare students for this change, every student in Minnesota, no later than ninth grade, will be provided with a career and post-secondary plan, and be encouraged to take classes for college credit while still in high school.

"It's looking at providing opportunities for students to earn early college credit while they're still in high school if they're ready, so it makes higher education more affordable," said Karen Hynick, assistant director of Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.

Making this transition more seamless also helps students to figure out what they're trajectory is and what pathways they might have interests in for future careers and postsecondary opportunities.

"This summit is the first step in a really exciting future for Minnesota," said Hynick.

She says legislation passed in May of this year will also help in the transition.

The legislation requires every Minnesota 11th grade student to take a national college entrance exam, helping to prepare them for future collegiate education.

"Now every student will have that opportunity, not just some students having the opportunity," said Hynick.

Collins says, "The time is now."

"Minnesota has been a leader in education for many years, and if we want to continue being a leader it's really going to take partnerships between high school, school districts, colleges and universities, and businesses to really prepare those students so they can come out of high school and into a good job or another degree program," said Collins.

...all with the hopes of a better tomorrow.

Educators say that in order to meet Minnesota's growing need for a well-educated workforce, schools at all levels must work together in new ways.

Elsa Robins