Driving the state’s economy by providing a more educated workforce, Oklahoma’s public and private higher education institutions and career technology centers have exceeded the Complete College America (CCA) target for the first 5 years of the initiative.

Oklahoma’s CCA goal is to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned by an average of 1,700 per year. Oklahoma institutions conferred 8,912 additional degrees and certificates in year five, surpassing the state benchmark of a cumulative increase of 8,500 degrees and certificates.

“The state system of higher education remains fully committed to the success of our Complete College America initiative,” said State Regents’ chair Jay Helm. “Higher education is the path to prosperity for our state and for individual Oklahomans. The State Regents, the Chancellor and our 25 public colleges and universities are proud that we have exceeded our CCA goal. We thank our state’s career technology centers and private institutions, which have been exceptional partners in our CCA effort.”

Oklahoma’s CCA initiative is designed to ensure the production of a highly skilled, college-educated workforce to attract and preserve employment opportunities and advance economic growth in the state.

“Despite successive years of budget cuts, the state system of higher education has focused on increasing degree completion in Oklahoma’s critical occupations, resulting in a 47 percent increase in STEM degree and certificate production over the last 7 years,” said Chancellor Glen D. Johnson. “We will continue to work collaboratively with CareerTech, private colleges and universities and state policy leaders to increase the number of degrees and certificates earned in the state to meet the needs of Oklahoma’s increasingly knowledge-based economy.”

Oklahoma’s five-point plan to increase degree and certificate completion has led to CCA naming Oklahoma the national model. The state plan focuses on promoting college readiness, transforming remediation, strengthening pathways to certificates and degrees, expanding adult degree completion efforts, and rewarding performance and completion.

Established in 2009, CCA is a national nonprofit organization working to significantly increase the number of Americans with a college degree. Gov. Mary Fallin, a strong advocate for the initiative, announced Oklahoma’s participation in CCA in September 2011. Funded by the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the W. K. Kellogg Foundation and Lumina Foundation, CCA focuses on state policy change and building consensus among state leaders, higher education and the national education policy community. Oklahoma is a member of the CCA Alliance of States, and CCA is integral to Gov. Fallin’s Oklahoma Works initiative.