For the past 20 years, we’ve advocated that human capital is the key advantage any region can and should cultivate in order to compete in the 21st Century economy. According to a recent piece on the Huffington Post, St. Louis, MO provides an example of what it means to take this idea seriously:
. . . .[Business] leaders have adopted an economic development strategy that gauges future vitality in part on the strength of the region’s human capital. With support from the St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association and the public sector, the leaders conducted an analysis of critical occupations in five industry clusters, and found that more than 70% of the talent they need must be college-credentialed.
With this knowledge, St. Louis area companies, educators, foundations, and government agencies have set out together to raise post-secondary graduation rates. They are building on key regional assets (a wealth of colleges and universities, a high level of civic pride, a private sector that “gets it”) and focusing on the elimination of persistent barriers — such as affordability.
Much of this effort is aimed at understanding the challenges faced by people seeking a college education and how to make it easier and less expensive for them to attain that goal. An initiative that is worth exploring. The full post is here.