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Reach Higher event explored work-based business opportunities to inspire young people to continue their education past high school

Monday, June 20, 2016

Leaders convened at the Reach Higher event at UCCS on June 14-16 to encourage students to complete their education past high school. From left are Eric Waldo, director of the White House's Reach Higher initiative; Julie Heinz of the U.S. Department of Edu

Leaders convened at the Reach Higher event at UCCS on June 14-16 to encourage students to complete their education past high school. From left are Eric Waldo, director of the White House's Reach Higher initiative; Julie Heinz of the U.S. Department of Education; Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper; Misti Ruthven, Colorado Department of Education; Josh Craver, Western Union; and Jeremy Anderson, Education Commission of the States.

Leaders from the business community, state agencies and workforce professionals gathered on June 14-16 at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs for First Lady Michelle Obama’s Reach Higher Initiative that strives to ensure all students understand what they need to complete their education beyond high school.

In today’s economy, a high school diploma isn’t enough. Students have to reach higher, which is why the First Lady is working with partners like the State of Colorado to rally the country around the President’s North Star goal – that by 2020, the United States will once again have the highest proportion of college graduates in the world.

The National Reach Higher Convening, entitled, “Preparing Students with Work-Ready Skills” included workshops, speeches and site visits to explore work-based learning opportunities. The event included remarks from U.S. Secretary of Education John King, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Colorado Sen. Pat Steadman and representatives from Arrow Electronics, Intertech Plastics, Lockheed Martin, McDonald’s, and Western Union. Colorado was chosen to host the event because of the positive work being done out of the Colorado Department of Education’s Office of Postsecondary Education, which is led by Misti Ruthven.

The event showcased how school counseling and career counseling are foundational to students successfully understanding their options to attain credentials in and beyond high school.

In Colorado, school counselors have been able to work to help improve the graduation rate at local 233 secondary schools in 75 of the state’s school districts and increase the number of students who appropriately prepare for, apply to and continue into postsecondary education.

The Reach Higher Initiative is an Administration-wide effort administered by the White House in partnership with the U.S. Department of Education.  For more information visit www.ReachHigher.gov, and follow the initiative on Twitter @ReachHigher @FLOTUS, on Instagram @ReachHigher2020.

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