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More are career and college ready, but significant gaps remain for students in Duval County, new report finds

More are career and college ready, but significant gaps remain for students in Duval County, new Jacksonville Public Education Fund report finds

In less than a decade, 6 in 10 jobs in Florida will require some postsecondary education. How many students in Duval County are ready for that future? And what are our local schools doing to prepare more students for college and the workforce?

These are the questions tackled in the latest policy briefing from the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, "To Graduation and Beyond: College & career readiness in Duval County."

Released today, the brief finds:

  • Duval County Public Schools has raised graduation standards beyond state requirements, and increased by 50 percent both enrollment in career and technical programs and the number of students passing AP, IB or AICE exams.
  • More students from Duval County Public Schools are enrolling in college after graduation.
  • Critical areas of reform are needed to create a strategic and supportive college access pipeline for all students in DCPS and beyond.
  • There is no agreed-upon definition of college and career readiness, and no comprehensive, unified system for tracking student outcomes beyond graduation.

By 2018, 6 in 10 jobs in Florida will require postsecondary education, according to recent projections from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce. Yet currently only about a third of adults have a degree. Nationally, the unemployment rate for high school dropouts is three times that of college graduates.

"As our economy demands a more highly skilled workforce, our community must rally around public education as the key to prosperity," said Trey Csar, President of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund.

In the last few months, the Duval County School Board committed resources to increase the number of guidance counselors in our schools, and Mayor Alvin Brown has started a series of workshops to help students fill out financial aid applications.

"These are all positive signals that our community is taking seriously the challenge of better preparing our students for their future in a globally competitive economy," Csar said.

You can find the full report - plus additional online exclusive content - at www.jaxpef.org. For interview opportunities and graphics contact Deirdre Conner at deirdre@jaxpef.org or (904) 394-0950 or (904) 345-0597 (mobile).