Why We Exist
The Tyler Area Partnership 4 Education was formed to work on educational outcomes from cradle to career in an effort to ensure that Smith County young people and adults are better prepared for the demands of the global economy. The goal of the Partnership is to increase the number of Smith County residents possessing a postsecondary credential or degree to 60% by the year 2025. This would include individuals with any education beyond a high school diploma from an industry certification to an advanced degree.
Today, only 35% of the adult population, ages 25 and over, hold an associate’s degree or higher. For the younger generation, the trend looks to be even less promising.
Research conducted by the Houston Endowment and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board followed eighth grade students through high school and six years post high school graduation to determine their level of postsecondary education completion. These studies reveal that only 20% of all Smith County students are successfully earning a postsecondary credential. The most startling statistic, however, is that less than 1 out of every 10 economically disadvantaged students complete any type of formal education beyond a high school diploma. These are the students who are eligible for free or reduced lunch and, they account for over half of the students in our county.
In 2014-2015, Smith County high schools and higher education institutions awarded nearly 4,000 industry certifications or degrees. Assuming that all things remain the same, the percentage of adults earning a postsecondary credential over the next 10 years would fall short of the 60% goal.
The good news is that Smith County high schools and higher education institutions are providing innovative solutions to assist more students along their path toward success. By working together in support of our schools to award 2,000 additional credentials and degrees over the next 10 years, we are certain to reach the goal and remain a strong community with a prosperous economy and an enhanced quality of life for all.