I’m Kayla Wingbermuehle – a St. Louis native, an education and community advocate, and the newest member of the St. Louis Regional Chamber team.
A few weeks ago, I joined the Chamber staff as the Program Manager for our new education initiative, bringing with me more than 6 years of experience in politics, community engagement, and education advocacy. I am excited to announce one of the Chamber’s newest programs, Gateway to Degrees.
Gateway to Degrees is a program launched in partnership with the St. Louis business community to empower and support adults working towards college degree completion. Our goal is to make St. Louis one of the top 10 cities for degree attainment by the year 2025. In order to achieve this goal, we will need to help 75,000 people in our region obtain a college degree beyond the current trend line, which is why working adults are such an important niche to target.
Why is this work important? By the year 2025, over 60% of jobs will require post-secondary education. It’s imperative to our region’s growth and prosperity to ensure our workforce has the skills necessary to fill these jobs. An educated workforce helps the entire region. An analysis conducted by CEOs for Cities shows that every one percentage point increase in adult four-year college degree attainment adds an additional $763 to per capita income per year. For St. Louis, that could mean billions of dollars added to our local economy by increasing degree attainment.
Over the next several months, I’ll be working with business, community, and education leaders to learn more about the region’s current landscape and formulate a plan to best serve the returning adult student population.
With the help of the Chamber community, we will make St. Louis one of the top 10 cities for degree completion. I look forward to working with many of you and updating you throughout the process. Stay tuned for new announcements in the new year!