In my work here at United Way, we spend a lot of time trying to help the community to improve the education pipeline. Some of the data about our educational attainment is really alarming. I’d like to see us strengthen the supports that kids and families have to get through that pipeline, from affordable high quality early childhood education, to career and college.
I have five kids, and moving into this community, I’m thinking a lot about the value of education. My father was the first person in the history of our family to get a college degree. And he was a high school drop out before joining the Marines and using the GI bill to get through college. He grew up in abject poverty, and the opportunity to attend college changed his life. It opened the door for me to get an advanced degree from Duke University. And now my kids are simply expected to go on to study in college and beyond. That's how powerful education can be to generational economics.
A quality education can be a key to solving intergenerational poverty. It can unlock the American dream for immigrants in our community. It is critical for the economic development – without a highly skilled and trained workforce, employment growth and economic diversification can’t happen in a region. Educational attainment doesn’t solve all of the world’s problems, but it goes an awful long way.