Sinclair Community College, Lorain County Community College and Stark State College were recently chosen to share a $500,000 planning grant as part of the Completion by Design project, a higher-education initiative supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The three colleges are collaborating as part of a national effort to share innovative, new approaches to help more students get a degree, certificate or credential.
“Sinclair is proud to partner with Lorain and Stark State to bring this initiative to Ohio,” said Sinclair President Steven Johnson. “Our state’s economy is transforming. Today’s jobs require higher skills. We need more young people to finish college and be ready for the jobs that will grow Ohio’s economy. This program is about using a rigorous, data-driven approach to complete more students and build hope for the future of our state.” As a greater number of careers require higher and more specialized levels of education, leading more students to degree completion is becoming more important for our students, our economy and our country.
Completion by Design aims to build on proven practices already underway at these forward-thinking community colleges to address the needs of today’s students. Sinclair, Lorain and Stark State are all recognized leaders in student success reform. Collectively, they will work over the next twelve months to develop a five-year plan that will outline methods that encourage students to complete degrees, certificates, and workforce credentials. The plan will address such aspects as data sharing, best practices, and statewide policy development to encourage more students to complete their educational goals. “We believe that today’s students—particularly low-income students—need smarter, affordable post-secondary options that lead to high-quality outcomes,” said Hilary Pennington, director of education, post-secondary success at the Gates Foundation. “Completion by Design aims to give them that, and we are excited to support the innovative work being conducted by these outstanding colleges.”