Fifty-four educators, corporate leaders, philanthropists and elected officials came together at the CFES Summit May 4-5 in Essex, N.Y. They generated approaches to advance college-and-career readiness for all students. Speakers included former New York governor George Pataki and former Massachusetts congressman Barney Frank.
Fifty-four educators, corporate leaders, philanthropists and elected officials came together at the CFES Summit May 4-5 in Essex, N.Y. They generated approaches to advance college-and-career readiness for all students. George Pataki, former New York governor, and Barney Frank, former Massachusetts congressman, brought decades of public service experience to discuss how to prepare students for higher education and ultimately for 21st-century careers.
Through talks, as well as panel and roundtable discussions, participants contributed success stories and ideas. The overall message is: Collaboration between schools, businesses and colleges must foster a better understanding between workplace needs and pathways to future jobs; education stakeholders must work together to create opportunities for students to develop Essential Skills, such as grit and resilience, that help them navigate school and life; and all students, regardless of their income background, must have access to resources and tools that help them pursue higher education pathways.
Rick Dalton, president and CEO of CFES, said in his opening remarks, “We need to develop a definition for college-and-career readiness that works for educators, families, corporate leaders — and most of all our students.”
Ryan McLennon, a junior at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh who participated in a panel discussion, spoke about his pathway to college with CFES. After describing his childhood that included neighborhood violence and gangs, he said that a CFES mentor and the CFES College Explore program, a three-day residential campus experience, ignited his determination to pursue higher education.“I realized I could go to college,” McLennon said. “I could make something of myself.”
In a panel discussion with Pataki, Frank said that social issues often hold back students. “Obviously, an important part of being able to go to college is your life has to be together,” Frank said.
During the conference, Dalton said that students in the bottom economic quartile are almost 10 times less likely to get a college degree than students in the top quartile. Pataki noted the seriousness of this issue. “One of the things that segregates Americans beyond economics is education,” Pataki said.
Kelli Wells, executive director for Education and Skills at the GE Foundation, said that stakeholders must include all students in planning for their future, not just a select few. “Working toward inclusion requires greater engagement,” she said. “We need all stakeholders at the table so we can drive change.”