In 2017, the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) and its higher education partners received an Attainment Challenge Grant from Lumina Foundation, a private foundation in Indianapolis committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all.
Postsecondaryattainment refers to the percentage of working-age residents – those ages 25 to 64 – who have earned a credential beyond high school, such as a certificate, diploma or degree, or completion of a registered apprenticeship. Higher attainment rates are tied to higher earnings and labor force participation.
Last fall, Lumina launched its Attainment Challenge Grant program and committed to support states with up to $100,000 for developing and implementing evidence-based policies to improve student success, close equity gaps, and help states reach a robust postsecondary attainment goal.
According to A Stronger Nation, Lumina’s annual report on postsecondary attainment, Wisconsin’s 2016 attainment rate was 48.4 percent, the most recent year for which data are available. While Wisconsin’s rate is above the national rate of 46.9 percent, it is short of labor economists’ estimates that 60 percent of all jobs will require a high-quality postsecondary credential by the end of this decade.
Wisconsin's higher education partners have agreed on a goal to increase the state’s postsecondary attainment rate to 60 percent by 2027 – 60 Forward.
The Lumina grant will support efforts to increase attainment among adults with some college but no credential and underrepresented populations, including non-traditional students, students of color, low-income and first generation students, will also be supported.
Under the grant, the partners will convene state leaders and nationally-recognized experts who will share their experiences with attainment goal efforts in other states and higher education systems. The partners will also develop a communications framework for outreach to key audiences to convey the relevance and value of achieving Wisconsin's attainment goal (60 Forward).