Why Ohio Communities Are Betting Big on Transforming Higher Education

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Aliah Barker, 17, a senior at Jefferson High School in Ohio, is taking college classes while she is still in high school. (Kirk Carapezza/WGBH)

As the nature of work continues to change with advancements in technology, so are the expectations of educators to prepare students for the jobs of the future. In response, many cities are taking it upon themselves to transform their community’s education system to give their citizens a leg up in today’s economy and level the playing field for everyone.

Over the past couple of days, WGBH, Boston’s local NPR, has been examining college completion efforts and higher education innovation in and around Dayton, Ohio.

Part One: How Dayton Is Banking on Its Community College

Kirk Carapezza from WGBH’s Higher Education Desk visits Sinclair Community College in the post-industrial city of Dayton, Ohio to profile one of the most affordable community colleges in the country that has adopted a specialized education format to help train its students for good-paying jobs that are available in their community.

The result: 96 percent of its students stick around after graduation and more than double their income.

Click here to read the full story.

Part Two: Ohio Bets Big On ‘Early College’ For Underprivileged Students

Kirk Carapezza visits Jefferson Township in Ohio to profile Jefferson High School’s “early college” program, which gives its low-income students the opportunity to earn college credits, even two-year degrees, for free.

The result: While it’s hard to tell if it’s working since the program is only two years old, its mission and impact on those who take advantage of it is undeniable. It provides “hope for the hopeless,” as Jefferson Superintendent Richard Gates puts it. This spring, when Monteia Smith graduates from Jefferson, she will be the first in her family to earn any kind of college degree.

Click here to read the full story.

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