August 22, 2011
By Paul Morello
Lt. Governor Sheila Simon stopped by Oakland Elementary School in Bloomington this afternoon to tout the benefits of higher education. Simon is pushing education reforms that would ensure 60 percent of working age adults have a college degree by 2025.
“Right now we’re at about 41 percent of our working age population at a college credential,” she said. “We know to be able to attract the jobs that are coming in the future, we need to boost that number.”
Simon says the state needs to shoot for an additional 600,000 grads by 2025. She says that’s an extra 4,400 students per year. One of the problems is what she calls a “leaky pipeline.” She says some students drop out before graduating because they don’t understand the benefits of a degree.
“Not everyone has to have a Ph.D. A one-year certificate at a community college adds a whole lot to your earning potential and adds a lot to the state in terms of being able to attract and build businesses,” she said.
Simon addressed a third grade class, which will be the college graduating class of 2025. She also brought her banjo and led the class in a rendition of ‘This Land is Your Land.’
A former teacher, Simon is Governor Quinn’s point-person on education. She has been touring the state’s community colleges this year trying to promote higher graduation and completion rates.