Collective Impact Collaboration

The COVID19 pandemic has magnified the glaring economic and educational problems in the Inland Empire. Throughout the crisis, regional leaders have doubled their efforts to help students succeed and families financially stay afloat. However, it’s important to recognize that educational improvement spurs economic growth. Cross-sector collaboration to move toward a shared vision of improving degree attainment rates will improve regional standards of living in this unprecedented time.

Regional Problems

Understanding the regional educational attainment gap, workforce demand and labor market gap is crucial to understanding why increasing degree attainment will improve the Inland economy. For instance, with 11.6% of the State’s population, the Inland Empire is one of the most populous regions in California, yet its students are less likely to earn college degrees than the average Californian. According to recent data from College Futures Foundation, for every 1,000 high school freshmen in the Inland Empire, only 151 will complete a BA degree.

A result of low regional degree attainment rates is a lack of growth in the regional economy. The projected workforce demand for Inland students with baccalaureate degrees will outweigh our labor supply by almost 2.3x in the next few years. Data USA found the regional poverty rate is 17.5%, and median household income is $56,087 because the current workforce demand for knowledge workers can’t be filled. To improve the regional economy and increase median household income, we must increase degree attainment rates to fill the labor market gap.

The Inland Empire Higher Educational Network

Collaboration across industries and sectors will increase educational attainment rates and improve the regional economy. Growing Inland Achievement (GIA) serves as a backbone organization to the Inland Empire Higher Education Network to pursue this mission. The network constitutes regional leaders who collaborate to create strategies and tactics that solve the Inland Empire’s most pressing educational issues. 

One example of a successful collaborative effort coordinated and funded by GIA is the Promise Scholars Achieve Partnership (PSAP) program. Promise Scholars, a member organization of the network, launched PSAP program to increase postsecondary enrollment rates. Promise Scholars hired college ambassadors like Gloria, a compassionate and understanding individual that reflects the student community she serves. Ambassadors like Gloria develop long-term individualized student relationships and create early college awareness. In this way, PSAP facilitates local students’ transition from high school to college.

Gloria and her fellow College Ambassadors are highly successful at getting local students to enroll in and attend college. For example, before the PSAP program, the baseline FAFSA or Dream Act completion rates were 33% at Chaffey High, 36% at Montclair High, and 42% at Ontario High in 2012. After Promise Scholars and College Ambassadors began to serve local students and spread college awareness, increase college access, and facilitate college transition, the FAFSA or Dream Act completion rate increased to 53% at Chaffey High, 60% at Montclair High, and 45% at Ontario High in 2019. These increased numbers signify an increase in postsecondary enrollment rates by local students.

Why You Should Join

When regional networks are coordinated to improve educational success, they quickly make a world of difference for students. More students with college degrees will launch careers as knowledge workers and entice businesses to move into the Inland Empire to access our labor market. But without network growth, network successes cannot be scaled. You can help scale network strategies and help students succeed by joining the Toward A Shared Vision virtual regional event. At the Toward A Shared Vision event, you’ll learn about network goals and get FREE training and professional development from the collective impact forum. Learn more about and register for the Toward A Shared Vision event by clicking the button below.