United Way of Wapello County announces participation in Cradle, College, Career partnership



The United Way of Wapello County is partnering with numerous business entities and community organizations to create a college going culture in Ottumwa. The partners include:  Ottumwa Community Schools, Great Prairie Area Educational Agency, Indian Hills Community College, Sieda Community Action, Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, Ottumwa Economic Development, City of Ottumwa, Job Corps, John Deere Ottumwa Works, Iowa Workforce Development, Buena Vista University, Iowa State University Extension Service,  and a variety of business and industry associates.

This initiative, known as C3, will tackle barriers preventing students from attaining college degrees while also coordinating access and services to increase college readiness.

 Why the sudden urgency for change?

By 2025, 68% of all Iowa jobs will require at least some college; a college diploma/certificate, an associate’s degree, bachelor’s degree or advanced degree (Iowa: Education and Workforce Trends through 2025, Carnevale et. Al, 2015). According to census data, only 24.1% of Ottumwa’s population over the age of 25 has an associate’s degree or higher. In order to meet this demand for educated workers, as well as build and sustain a vibrant and healthy community, C3 must ensure that all students know and understand the steps to pursue and complete a college degree or credential.

C3 will help to create a college-going culture in the community that values degree and/or credential completion. We will also identify and remove barriers that prevent students from pursuing college degrees and/or credentials. As well as coordinate a set of college access and success services and activities that encourage the pursuit and completion of college degrees and/or credentials.
We will do all of this while also informing Ottumwa residents about pathways that lead to local employment and careers.
The goals for this collaboration are :
1. Increase the percentage of Ottumwa 8th grade students who intend to pursue college degrees or credentials.
2. Increase the percentage of Ottumwa graduating seniors who enroll in a college degree or credential program anytime during the first year after high school.
3. Increase the percentage of Ottumwa graduating seniors who complete college degrees or credentials within six years of high school.
4. Increase the percentage of Ottumwa residents who have college degrees and/or credentials by the next census.
The shared objectives and metrics choosen to gage overall effectiveness are as follows:
-Ensure that Ottumwa students, who intend to pursue college degrees and/or credentials in 8th grade, maintain their commitment to do so in high school and subsequently enroll in postsecondary education
-Increase the percentage of Ottumwa students who take college entrance exams during high school.
-Increase the percentage of Ottumwa graduating seniors who complete the FAFSA by July 1.
-Increase the percentage of 11th grade students who meet Iowa Assessment proficiency levels in reading and math.
-Increase the percentage of Ottumwa students who persist for a second year of postsecondary education.
-Increase the percentage of Ottumwa students graduate from an accredited college program.
The United Way is happy to be working alongside these community members to increase the potential for success in Wapello County. Anyone interested in participating can join the College Going Conference on October 20th at the Bridgeview Center in Ottumwa. The conference is open to all students, community members, educators, parents and business owners. Presentations from community members and others around from the Midwest will occur throughout the day.