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Building Bridges to Post-secondary Success in Minnesota


By Chibuzo Ezeigbo, program officer in the Foundation’s education and economic mobility program

A group of education and workforce leaders in Minnesota released a report with a comprehensive set of recommendations to ensure that more young people earn a post-secondary degree or credential.

The report, developed by the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership, calls for expanded access to dual credit courses, targeted assistance to school districts with the lowest FAFSA application rates, and better alignment between education and industry needs. It also calls for more robust data systems that allow the state to track leading indicators of student success across the transitions from Pre-K-12 to post-secondary and the workforce.

The Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership was created in 2009 to build a seamless system of education from early childhood through K-12 and into post-secondary. Last year, it focused on the state’s goal of assuring that 70% of Minnesotans ages 25-44 attain a post-secondary credential by 2025, within racial/ethnic groups. The goal is centered around equity and ensuring that young Minnesotans have access to high-quality education and career options.

The report can be found here. The leaders of the Partnership participated in a January 12 webinar on the report and recommendations, which can be found here.

The Partnership is led by Ron Anderson, senior vice chancellor at Minnesota State; Robert McMaster, vice provost and dean of undergraduate education at the University of Minnesota; Mary Cathryn Ricker, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education; and Dennis Olson, commissioner of the Minnesota Office of Higher Education.

Data continue to show that earning a college degree is one of the most effective ways to ensure economic mobility. But not enough young people, especially those of color and those from historically marginalized communities, earn them.

Given a potential, post-pandemic downturn in the economy, a post-secondary credential will be more important than ever. As this 2016 study shows, the vast majority of jobs created after the last recession went to workers with at least some college education, with the highest share going to worker’s with a bachelor’s degree.

Minnesota has some of the nation’s largest gaps in high school graduation and college readiness by race/ethnicity and income, according to a recent study by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.

But the college readiness gap has been increasing. These gaps may be further exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has had a disproportionately negative impact on Black and Latino people and individuals facing financial hardships.

This makes the Partnership’s focus on the post-secondary attainment goal timely. It’s centered on identifying ways to close equity gaps and increase opportunities, particularly for young people of color and those from marginalized communities.

With Joyce funding, Education Strategy Group helped the Partnership draft the recommendations and prepare the report.


The Foundation invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region. One of the goals of the Foundation’s Education and Economic Mobility program is to help increase the number of young people who enter college prepared to succeed and complete quality college credentials that lead to careers with family-sustaining wages.