Maine unveils its version of a 60 percent goal

A continent separates Idaho and Maine — but the states are pursuing almost an identical college completion goal.

Last week, a newly formed Maine Workforce and Education Coalition announced an ambitious goal: to get 60 percent of residents to hold some form of postsecondary degree or certificate.

Currently, 42 percent of the state’s residents have completed a postsecondary program, Mainebiz reported last week.

If Maine’s goal sounds vaguely familiar, it should.

Idaho has wrestled since 2010 with its own version of a 60 percent goal. The Idaho goal focuses only on 25- to 34-year-olds. In 2015, only 42 percent of Idaho’s 25- to 34-year-olds held a postsecondary degree — and earlier this year, a gubernatorial task force abandoned Idaho’s original 60 percent target date.

The task force now is focusing on a 2025 target date.

The reasons behind the Maine initiative also are familiar.

“For years we’ve talked about the pending work force shortage,” Ed Cervone, director of Educate Maine, told Mainebiz. “It’s no longer pending. It is a problem today and it is getting worse. The sense of urgency is real, we can’t accept failure.”

Last month, Colorado state officials unveiled their own variation of a college completion goal — saying they hope to hit a 66 percent rate by 2025.

Kevin Richert

Kevin Richert

Senior reporter and blogger Kevin Richert specializes in education politics and education policy. He has more than 30 years of experience in Idaho journalism. He is a frequent guest on "Idaho Reports" on Idaho Public Television and "Idaho Matters" on Boise State Public Radio. Follow Kevin on Twitter: @KevinRichert. He can be reached at [email protected]

Get EdNews in your inbox

Weekly round up every Friday