That means the other 481 graduates “need our help choosing a direction,” Pearce told the crowd.
Of those who enter college, 56 percent, or 124 students, will leave without a degree after six years.
So the 605 total students — those without a college degree — “need a path,” Pearce said.
By 2020, 65 percent of the jobs will required post secondary education or training, he said.
Pearce said businesses throughout the region will be searching for “good, talented young people” to fill the positions and grow with the company.
Styles said districts need to be creative in their approach in how they’re educating students. He predicted a “boom” for the area within the next five years.
“Before it booms lets figure out the why together,” Styles said. “So that when the boom happens, the how and the what have been executed with precision, and we all can celebrate a prosperous environment. If we work together, the possibilities are endless.”
Then he added a slogan often repeated in the Middletown district: “Now is the time.”
He said the Middletown district recently released its three-year strategic plan. The four key areas are: instructional excellence, valuing diversity, student and family wellness and communication and community engagement.
“We are trying to break the mold,” he said of traditional classroom education. “We want to break down the doors and allow you (business community) to come in and partner with us to redefine how to educate our students.”