It’s a sobering statistic, especially as the world moves more and more toward technology- and information-related careers.

According to data from Michigan’s Center for Educational Performance and Information, 73 percent of the region’s high school graduates enroll in college within a year of graduating. That’s not so bad, compared to the nation.

However, just 35 percent — a little over a third — of those graduates earn a degree or credential within six years.

The problem is even more stark in the city of Detroit, where the majority of high schools have graduating classes with less than 10 percent of students going on to earn a four-year degree or a credential.

It’s a situation that if not addressed now, will significantly hurt the competitiveness of the entire Detroit region.

In a bid to help address this, the Kresge Foundation has launched through the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation a new comprehensive plan and campaign to increase the number of people who get degrees and high-skill accreditations in Southeast Michigan.

They’ve backed it up with funding to the tune of $450,000.

“We want to help Detroit fulfill its workforce needs using its own homegrown talent,” said Rip Rapson, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation in a statement. “Detroiters are hungry for the opportunity to get to work, and this initiative will help ensure they’re equipped with the skills, education and credentials required to do just that. We know a postsecondary education is no longer a luxury, but a necessity to move into the economic mainstream, and we’re proud to partner with the Chamber to help more Detroiters and people from across the region get that education.”

The funding will help power the “Detroit Drives Degrees,” a program first started in 2015 made up of education, business, philanthropy, government and nonprofit community leaders to work to address the lack of residents without higher education credentials or college degrees compared to like across the country.

The Detroit Regional Chamber wants to create what they’re calling a “strategic blueprint” to help figure the problem out.

“The Kresge Foundation’s grant allows the Chamber to both develop and implement a strategic blueprint to bolster postsecondary attainment throughout the region. Philanthropic partners like Kresge play a key role in helping us reach our goal of increasing individuals with postsecondary degrees from 43 to 60 percent by 2025,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Chamber.

If you’re a current or former college student, what have you found are some of the issues in staying in college or training programs?

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