Are you one of the 300,000 Oklahomans who have completed some college, but did not finish your degree? If so, Reach Higher can help. Join us on Saturday, July 27, 2019, as we kick off Reach Higher: RECONNECT Week. Find a campus to visit during RECONNECT Week at www.ReconnectOK.org.
By 2020, 30% of jobs in Oklahoma will require an associate degree, bachelor’s degree or higher, according to data from Georgetown Center for Education and Workforce. To help close this workforce gap, we are reaching out to the 300,000 adults who have stopped out of college. While traditional students are necessary to help us meet Oklahoma’s workforce needs, too, institutions of higher education realize the value of engaging adults who already have work experience, skills and some college credit.
The Reach Higher program has been Oklahoma’s adult degree completion program since 2007. The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and 22 colleges and universities across the state have dedicated resources to help close the workforce gap by offering flexible options for adults with some college credit, but no degree. Reach Higher: FlexFinish was our first adult degree program designed specifically with working adults in mind. It offers three degree programs with a business tract. In 2018, the State Regents, in partnership with 12 colleges and universities, several tribes, workforce development boards and private foundations, launched a second program called Reach Higher: DirectComplete. Through the partnerships with schools, workforce partners and private foundations, DirectComplete offers some scholarships for adults finishing degrees in Oklahoma’s critical occupations.
Reach Higher: FlexFinish is a degree completion program for adults who have earned some college credit and want to complete a degree while balancing family, work and financial obligations. The hybrid degree programs include a Bachelor of Arts in Organizational Leadership and an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science in Enterprise Development. FlexFinish was designed to offer flexibility in scheduling and the convenience of attending classes online or on campus to make going back to school easier for busy, working adults.
Reach Higher: DirectComplete was launched by the State Regents in 2018 as an expansion of the original Reach Higher initiative. This degree completion program focuses on workforce needs for our state and targets adults who have completed 75% of an associate degree or 50% of a bachelor’s degree in one of Oklahoma’s 100 critical occupation fields. DirectComplete offers scholarship opportunities for nontraditional students, dedicated navigators on each of the 12 participating college and university campuses, and access to supportive services while participating students are in school.
A college degree can increase a person’s earnings by approximately $1 million over a lifetime. But earned income isn’t the only thing that can increase when you go back to school – personal satisfaction in finishing what you started and knowing you are much closer to achieving your career goals, and a positive influence on your family and community also increase when you finish your degree.
Reach Higher: RECONNECT Week, July 27-Aug. 1, is an opportunity for colleges and universities throughout the state of Oklahoma to open their campuses to adults who want to learn more about their next steps to go back to school and finish their degrees. Twenty institutions and two Tribal Education Departments are offering enrollment services and family-friendly entertainment on Saturday, July 27. The following week, July 29 – Aug. 1, each campus will be open at least one evening for extended hours to accommodate anyone who would like to get more information about finishing a degree.
Find more information about participating schools and available services and activities during Reach Higher: RECONNECT Week at www.ReconnectOk.org.