The regents on Thursday, Aug. 4, formally adopted the statewide attainment goal that addresses a full range of educational attainment, from technical certificates and apprenticeships to associate, bachelor and graduate degrees. Last fall, the board agreed to 65 percent as a provisional goal, calling it an important starting point for discussions with other higher education providers, policymakers, community advocates and business leaders. Since that time, the board’s executive director and CEO, Mike Rush, said he and regents’ staff engaged many stakeholders in discussing the need to educate more South Dakotans to higher levels for a knowledge- and service-based economy.

The South Dakota Workforce Development Council voted to support the 65 percent attainment goal last December. The South Dakota Board of Education, along with the state Department of Education, lent its support earlier this year. Gov. Dennis Daugaard also voiced support in his State of the State message to the South Dakota Legislature in January, calling it a “worthy goal to pursue.”

Rush said he looks forward to all post-secondary education partners in South Dakota -- public, private, technical and tribal institutions -- working together to deliver on the 65 percent attainment goal.

As of 2014, about 45 percent of working-age South Dakotans hold some form of post-secondary credential at the certificate level and higher. The new 65 percent attainment goal is based on projections from the Georgetown University Public Policy Institute’s Center on Education and the Workforce that roughly 65 percent of all jobs in South Dakota will require some level of post-secondary education by 2020.

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