New Year, New Vision, New Strategy
By Peter. J. Taylor, ECMC Foundation
It's a very exciting time at ECMC Foundation—in many ways, a milestone moment. We've come a long way since first getting the keys to our office in downtown Los Angeles in 2014. We've built a lot of momentum, we've made many connections and we're ready for the amazing year ahead of us.
In the latter half of 2017, we asked ourselves: What gets us up in the morning and to work each day? Answers varied, but overall, it was determined that each of us care deeply about making an impact on students' lives, especially those from traditionally underserved, marginalized populations.
The exercise resulted in our first-ever, vision statement: All learners unlock their fullest potential.
The Meaning Behind Our Vision Statement
Our vision is what we hope to achieve: a future where deep issues of equity in education no longer exist; a country where all learners—regardless of their socioeconomic background, which neighborhood or zip code they grew up in, or the color of their skin—have access to educational and career opportunities and the necessary support to succeed.
Through the work of our grantee partners, we hope our investments help all learners become engaged, prepared and empowered to make positive contributions to society. We also believe learning is a lifelong practice. Adopting a lifelong learning mindset and drive for continuous education and career development is essential. Lastly, central to our vision is the idea that everyone has an innate ability to unlock their fullest potential, no matter what educational and career pathway they seek. With the right support, training and mentorship, everyone has the power to turn aspirations into realities. I invite you to read more about the Foundation's vision statement.
We will also release ECMC Foundation's 2017 Annual Report next week, which captures the productive year that just ended. Stories in the annual report will illustrate ways in which our grantee partners are helping learners move closer to our vision.
As we crafted our vision statement, we also asked ourselves: Is our work helping learners get to where they want to be?
As you can imagine, the answer wasn't a simple one. As our economy evolves and becomes more complex, more and more jobs require a postsecondary degree or credential. But when it comes to postsecondary attainment, at status quo, we'll end up short.
Only two years from now, 65 percent of America's 165 million jobs will require education beyond high school. A study done by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce found that only 40 percent of adults currently hold some form of postsecondary credential or degree. Unless some educational magic happens, how will we bridge the gap between 40 percent and 65 percent?
To compound the issue, the economy is becoming increasingly global. It is more critical than ever that learners be prepared to compete in the global market. U.S. postsecondary attainment is dismal compared to other highly developed post-industrial countries. Once producing the most college graduates with degrees and certificates, our country now ranks 13th, according to latest figures by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.
Given the realities of our times, we decided to shift our strategy.
In December 2017, ECMC Foundation made the decision to close out the Teacher and Leader Development portfolio, which primarily made investments in K-12 teacher training in deeper learning instruction. Starting in 2018, ECMC Foundation will direct funding into our two focus areas: College Success and Career Readiness. This sharpened direction aligns with the concentration of our parent company, ECMC Group, and all our affiliate companies on postsecondary education.
Focusing our resources, limiting our scope and diving deeper into the College Success and Career Readiness portfolios allows us to make a far wider and deeper impact in postsecondary education. The shift in strategy also enables the Foundation to help bridge the gap between skills the workforce needs and jobs of the future. It is, if you will, the fast-track solution, and the pathway to achieving ECMC Foundation's vision: All learners unlock their fullest potential.
In 2018, we are looking forward to going deeper into the trenches, hand in hand with our partners and cheering for the students whose lives and futures, together, we hope to impact.
From all of us at ECMC Foundation, cheers to the New Year,
Peter J. Taylor