Yakima County Development Association - One Voice Project Aims to Raise Educational Attainment

Jonathan Smith

The President’s Pen is a weekly blog written by Jonathan Smith, New Vision’s President and CEO about local economic development projects and initiatives. It also covers economic trends, workforce issues, business climate policies, and manufacturing news. 

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One Voice Project Aims to Raise Educational Attainment

One Voice Project Aims to Raise Educational Attainment

September 30, 2012

Sarah Augustine is on a mission.  She is in charge of the One Voice in Higher Education initiative.  It’s a partnership between Heritage University, Yakima Valley Community College and the Yakima Valley Community Foundation that is bent on lifting our region’s education levels quickly. 

The primary aim of the One Voice Project is to create a durable coalition of diverse Valley partners that will become a unified voice for educational improvement.  Over the next ten years the group wants to boost the percentage of adults living in Yakima County who have earned a two-year degree or higher to 35%, consistent with the Nation.  This is a lofty goal that will only be achieved through teamwork. 

Partners involved with One Voice know that there are not any silver bullets that can fix or improve local schools.  They recognize that creating change in a complex system requires the coordination of many different stakeholders working together towards a common goal.  As a result project stakeholders will focus on changes that can impact and improve all schools. 

The One Voice team is already looking for best practices that could be positively impact our education system.  Later this week the group is organizing a meeting of key stakeholders to discuss issues and strategies.  This group will hopefully help the One Voice project focus on several key initiatives that have the greatest potential to raise educational attainment.  Once the group identifies promising initiatives it will work to secure the needed funds and resources to push these key projects forward.

We are pleased that the One Voice in Higher Education project is moving forward.  Coordination between our region’s higher education partners can make a difference but we are also pleased that the group is focusing on all levels of education.  Systematic reforms and improvements will be needed at our local schools if we want to significantly raise educational attainment over the next decade.  Let’s hope the One Voice project is a big success.  Our Valley’s economy will no doubt be stronger and more resilient if we can increase our population’s educational levels. 


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