College Changes Everything
An educated workforce is vital for the continued economic prosperity of Iowa communities. Employers in all industries have an increasing need for skilled and educated workers. Only 41 percent of Iowa’s 1.6 million working-age adults (25-64 years old) have two or four-year degrees , while more than six in 10 jobs in the state will require postsecondary credentials by 2018.  Iowa’s economic future depends on us producing more college graduates—a task more effectively tackled at the local level in our communities rather than by the state as a whole.
Increasing college attainment leads to stronger local and state economies. Iowa’s economic future depends on us producing more college graduates. An increase of one-percent in degree attainment leads to a two-percent increase in a community’s economic growth.  In addition to the benefits of increased income and employability for individuals, college educated adults are also civic-minded and actively engaged in their communities and are less likely to rely on social services. Higher family incomes also benefit state and local economies through increased tax revenue. 
College Changes Everything is based on the premise that sustained change is only possible through cross-sector coordination. Relationships based on shared responsibility and trust, development of a common agenda, shared measurement of goals, effective communication and mutual reinforcement of activities among all participants are key to successfully increasing college attainment at the community level. Building upon the existing initiatives and resources currently available in our communities, College Changes Everything™ leverages the strengths and long-term plans of each participating organization. Ground-level legwork of VISTA volunteers, access to data and training and strategic assistance for community leaders provided by Iowa College Aid and other state and national experts fuel the movement to meet the community’s higher education goals and raise educational attainment statewide.