Sinclair joins group of community colleges to improve post-degree outcomes

Sinclair Community College is one of 10 community colleges across the county that has been named to a network aimed at improving post-degree outcomes, programs and advising.

The network is called Unlocking Opportunity, and is through the Aspen Institute, in partnership with the Community College Research Center at Teachers College, Columbia University.

The network will ensure any student, particularly students of color and low-income students, are set up to earn a bachelor’s degree or high-quality workforce credential, resulting in strong economic outcomes, Sinclair Community College said.

The program will run until 2028, focused on envisioning change and implementing it the first three years, and the last three includes monitoring by the Aspen Institute and CCRC.

“Unlocking Opportunity aligns with Sinclair’s mission to find the need and endeavor to meet it by formulating and executing strategies to increase access to high-value education and career pathways that benefit our students, their families, employers, and our region,” said Steve Johnson, president of Sinclair.

Sinclair says it has already been working towards a goal of improving outcomes for people of color and improving advising. The college raised the number of credentials awarded to all students from 3,362 in FY 2013 to 11,006 in FY 2022, a 227% increase, but degrees and certificates awarded for minority students has risen from 538 in FY 2013 to 3,069 in FY 2022, a 470% increase; and for African American males from 136 in FY 2013 to 1935 in FY 2022, a 1323% increase.

Josh Wyner, founder and executive director of the Aspen College Excellence Program, said community colleges have long focused on improving graduation rates.

“But with enrollments dropping for a decade, it is time for community colleges to turn their attention to increasing the value of the credentials they deliver, especially for the large numbers of Black, Hispanic, and low-income students who rely so heavily on community colleges to provide a path to a better life,” Wyner said. “The colleges selected for this network have shown that they can make scaled and systemic change and are ready to work together on this critical goal.”

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