~Braulio Colón, Executive Director for the Florida College Access Network, shared information about the Florida College Access Network, Goal 2025, and why’s it important~

imgThank you madam chair, members of the Council, good morning. Thank you for providing me with a few minutes to briefly share information about the Florida College Access Network, Goal 2025, and why’s it important.

The Florida College Access Network promotes college readiness, access, and success for all students, particularly limited income and first generation students. We are a statewide network that engages local communities and empowers them to get into the game of college access and success. Whether it’s through a non-profit developing a college access program, a city government incorporating college access into their parks and rec programs, or a business offering tuition reimbursement to its employees—we want everyone in the game to not only support higher education and but to also become active participants in helping more students succeed and earn degrees.

We are beginning our work by promoting a big goal for Florida. We call it Goal 2025. You may already be familiar with it. In fact, it’s a national movement started by our partners at the Lumina Foundation. Simply put, we want to increase the percentage of adults in Florida who hold a 2-yr or 4-yr degree to 60% by the year 2025. You have the details of this goal in your packets. Over 50 organizations have already signed on in support of Goal 2025 and we will be launching a Goal 2025 pledge campaign next year for individuals interested in supporting higher education. It’s this goal that has mobilized communities in support of higher education. The goal compliments and aligns with the 2020 goal you’ve set and from what I’ve read in the Florida College System strategic plan we are well on our way to meeting Goal 2025.

In addition to building public will around the goal, we are also beginning to support the development of local college access networks. We recognize that there’s a need for fundamental change in how we reach students that will take us from the current patchwork of discrete college access programs working in isolation to a coordinated system linking students to a comprehensive array of services within a supportive environment. Moving students successfully through this pipeline requires a system of organizations, government agencies, funders, businesses, and individual champions. Let’s work together to develop a local college access network in your community.

No group knows better than you the challenges and opportunities our students and systems face. You’ve seen enrollment on your campuses spike, state funding drop, and the value of Bright Futures decline. And so you’re once again being asked to do more with less. But as you prepare for this upcoming legislative session, I encourage you this morning to explore ways to empower your local communities to support your efforts—whether it’s plugging them into the Finish Up Florida campaign, or developing a place-based scholarship for your campus. I know that if we are going to help more students succeed and earn a degree in the 21st century, it will require collaboration.

I want to take this time to thank Dr. Holcombe and Dr. Bilsky for their leadership in our state and their support of our work at the Florida College Access Network.

Members of the Council, I invite each of you to partner with us. Endorse Goal 2025 and let’s build networks in your communities that work.

Thank you.

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