Tuesday February 12, 2008
Mayor Jerry Abramson, joined by local college and university leaders and the business community, announced a major new initiative today to encourage citizens to return to college to finish their degrees.
The campaign, “Graduate Greater Louisville,” will attempt to reach the 177,000 people in the 13-county Louisville Metropolitan Area who have some college but never earned their degree.
"People can literally transform their lives with a degree,” Abramson said. “Can you imagine the effect on our region, and on people’s lives, if we could convince even 10 percent of those 177,000 people to return to school?”
The majority of people with some college but no degree live in Louisville — one in five adults, or 104,000 people. Some of those people are just a few classes short of a bachelor’s.
Graduate Greater Louisville is a joint partnership between Greater Louisville Inc, the metro chamber of commerce; Kentuckiana Works, the local workforce development agency; the Mayor’s Office and 23 colleges and universities on both sides of the Ohio River.
The partnership’s first event is “Spring Fling,” a college fair featuring admissions and financial aid counselors from 20 local schools.
The event will be held at Jewish Family and Vocational Services, 3587 Dutchman’s Lane, on Wednesday, Feb. 20, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. People may stop by the fair and immediately re-enroll in college.
Also this week, a series of workshops will allow people to apply for federal financial aid while at the same time getting free help with their tax returns (see dates and times below).
Graduate Greater Louisville also has a website, www.graduategreaterlouisville.com, and a toll-free number that people can call to re-enroll and find financial aid — 1-877-GO-4-GRAD.
In addition, the Kentuckiana College Access Center, an agency of Kentuckiana Works, has a one-stop center for people interested in returning to school. The center is located at 200 W. Broadway, seventh floor. The access center is staffing the 1-877-GO-4-GRAD number.
Though Louisville is increasing its education levels, and seeing more people earning college degrees, the city still lags behind its competitor cities. That has a measurable impact on economic development.
“When I meet with companies considering locating to Louisville, they want to know how many people in our city have college degrees,” Abramson said. “If we could increase those numbers, it would make our city much more attractive to corporations.”
Abramson also noted that people with degrees earn more money. People in Louisville with some college but no degree earn, on average, $32,000. But people with a bachelor’s earn an average of $52,000.
“Education pays,” Abramson said. “It leads to people with better jobs, better salaries, better lives and, ultimately, leads to a stronger, better Louisville.”
Resources for returning to college
Spring Fling College Fair
Jewish Vocational and Family Services, 3587 Dutchman’s Lane
Feb. 20, 2008; 4-7 p.m.
Representatives from 20 local college and universities, both public and private, will have booths and representatives.
Do your taxes and financial aid
Tuesday, Feb. 12, 4-7 p.m. - Presbyterian Community Center, 701 S. Hancock St.
Wednesday, Feb. 13, 4-7 p.m. - Louisville Urban League, 1535 W. Broadway
Thursday, Feb. 14, 4-7 p.m. - Presbyterian Community Center, 701 S. Hancock St.