By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley) – An education collaborative formed by Cal State San Bernardino and the University of California, Riverside – consisting of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership, the Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, community colleges, school districts, local governments and businesses in San Bernardino and Riverside counties – has received a $5 million Governor’s Award for Innovation in Higher Education.
The Inland Empire Collective Impact for Educational and Economic Success collaborative lays out a blueprint for addressing college readiness, and ultimately increasing college graduation rates. The plan was prepared and submitted by CSUSB in partnership with UC Riverside.
“This is great news for our two-county region,” said CSUSB President Tomás D. Morales. “The governor’s committee recognized through our collaborative ensures that more of our students are prepared for college. These communities are working together to best position our graduates, enabling them to fill high-skilled, high-paying jobs.”
“It’s rare to see this type of broadly-based regional effort,” said UC Riverside Provost Paul D’Anieri. “What’s truly innovative and important about this grant is that it is a unique collaboration of all sectors of public higher education along with the private sector. This should become the standard for how we collaborate to promote college success in the Inland Empire.”
The Federation for a Competitive Economy (FACE), which UCR established in 2009, will serve as the backbone organization in uniting and coordinating the effort. A second group formed in 2012 by members of FACE and the Inland Empire Economic Partnership (IEEP), co-chaired by CSUSB President Morales and UCR Chancellor Kim Wilcox, provides the leadership and direction for education reform and advocacy.
“On behalf of the members of the IEEP, I want to congratulate CSUSB and UCR on their selection, and also to thank Gov. Jerry Brown and his committee for recognizing the strong affect that Cal State San Bernardino and UCR have on our communities,” said Paul Granillo, president and CEO of the IEEP.
The IEEP, the largest economic development agency in Riverside and San Bernardino counties, has worked for five years to convene educational leaders in the Inland Empire and establish a dialogue between top educators and the business community. The Coachella Valley Economic Partnership, which serves the Coachella Valley region, also serves in the collaborative.
Though the two-county region has about 10 percent of California’s population, with about 4.3 million people, it has among the lowest college graduation rates in the state.
About 19 percent of San Bernardino County residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and about 21 percent of Riverside County residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher. The inland region, and the city of San Bernardino in particular, represent one of the most impoverished areas in the United States.
To meet those challenges, the collaborative is working to create a cradle-to-career collective impact model to address the unique needs of the student populations each institution serves. The vision is to promote and improve education for all students, significantly benefiting the local economy through preparation of a well-trained workforce.
Those proposed steps are:
· Reduce the number of students in the two-county region entering college who need remediation, particularly in math, by 20 percent within five years, by increasing college preparation at the high school level;
· Increase the number of bachelor’s degrees attained by students by 15 percent across the two counties within 5 years;
· Increase the number of students completing their bachelor’s degrees within 6 years by 10 percent across the two counties within 5 years; and
· Improve career preparedness through strengthened partnerships with local businesses and industries to better align education with workforce development needs.
Beefing up math instruction at the high school level is a key part of the proposal, because math is one of the biggest hurdles to college completion, said Pamela Clute, a Ph.D. math instructor, STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) advocate and UC Riverside’s Special Assistant to the Chancellor.
According to the Governor’s Award proposal, more than half of CSUSB’s entering freshmen require extra classes in math, English or both, to make them capable of completing college-level courses.
University of California schools require a higher high school GPA for entering freshmen, said Clute, “but even UC schools have students who need additional help with math. The truth of the matter is, many high school students aren’t ready to handle the college math expected of them, and you can see it in how many students drop out of STEM majors after their freshman year. They just can’t cut the math, so they head for another major.”
The application, which was formally submitted in January by CSUSB, scored in the top tier by the state evaluators and received a score of better than 93, with 100 being the highest possible score. Schools in the three top tiers received funding, with a total of $50 million in funds designated. Applicants in the second tier were designated for $3 million in funding, with $2.5 million going to schools in the third tier.