REACH for the Stars

Georgia’s push to produce 250,000 more college graduates – that’s above and beyond current graduation levels – by the year 2020 stems from a recent projection that more than 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require a college certificate, associate’s or bachelor’s degree. Currently, only 42 percent of young adults in the state are prepared. Complete College Georgia (CCG) is the program Gov. Nathan Deal announced in 2011 to help the state achieve that goal.

One component of CCG is REACH, a needs-based scholarship program that targets middle schoolers. “When they’re in middle school, they sign a contract to maintain a certain grade point average, to remain crime-, drug- and behavior issue-free, and meet with a volunteer mentor until they graduate from high school,” explains SashaDlugolenski, the governor’s press secretary.

REACH, a true public-private partnership, offers corporations and individuals the chance to invest in the education of the next generation of Georgians, who must have the skills to compete in workforce.

“Part of our approach is to try not to look at this as a one-and-done type of investment. What we’re looking at is how do we get this woven into the culture of both our private and our public partners, because we know that every year there’s another class of eighth graders. We know that there’s another class of post-secondary graduates and folks that are in the workforce,” says Brad Bryant, executive director of REACH. “And I think some of the duty and the ingenuity of the governor putting this into Complete College Georgia was that it really does focus on the long-term investments that we need to make as a state.”

Learn more about how REACH is making a difference in the lives of young people across our state in “Thinking Ahead,” in the November issue of Georgia Trend.

— Karen Kirkpatrick

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