In a speech at the University of Texas, President Obama highlighted the dramatic drop in college graduates. According to a recent College Board report the United States ranks 12th among 36 developing nations in the number of college graduates ages 25-34. Not only are we losing college graduates we are faltering as an economic power. We can no longer wait to reposition ourselves by investing so little of the nation’s budget in K12 and college education.

The door is open for the United States to make education an economic priority. There are rapid changes all over the world which require students who can think and create new products and services at a fast rate. Too many countries are ahead of the United States in marketing and selling products to the world. Producing more college graduates by 2020 will make America’s companies more competitive. The United States must open the doors to college at all levels. Community colleges must be a part of the plan to increase college graduation rates. A community college education can be beneficial for the traditional and non-traditional age college student. Part of creating a sustainable society is looking at all dimensions of the economic challenges that we face. It seems that education takes second place to other national priorities.

Arne Duncan Secretary of education says that 60 percent of the population who are ages 25-34 need to graduate with a college degree. Currently, only 40 percent of college age students are graduating from their university. It’s time to find a way to close the education gap that persists at the K12 level. There is a big question regarding who is qualified to receive a college education. Too many students are 3 or 4 years behind their grade level when they graduate from high school. The root of the K12 problem must be addressed simultaneously with the college push.

Too many people do not understand the economic importance of increasing the number of college graduates. They act like we’re still an agricultural and manufacturing society. The information age is shifting the way that we manufacture and sell products around the world. Students need to be competent at higher levels to create the new businesses that will compete and raise our economic position around the world. If we do not change our approach to education students will continue to slide and incomes in the United States will remain stagnant.

President Obama has a plan to invest in education now. The congress and the senate must act on his initiatives rather than focus on policies that are politically expedient. Underfunding education will result in bigger problems in the years ahead. We need to increase the number of college graduates to fill the demands as the baby boomers begin to retire. If we do not prepare the next generation companies will continue to move abroad. Companies will get employees wherever they can find them. It’s important that we find ways to maximize the learning opportunities for every student.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Stephen Jones is an outstanding educator who has spent his career helping students to succeed in K12 schools and college. Dr. Jones received his Bachelors Degree in Community Psychology from Widener University, Masters in Education from Howard University, Masters in Business Administration from Philadelphia University, and a Doctorate in Education from Widener University. Dr. Jones is a Philadelphia Public school graduate. He has been instrumental in helping thousands of students to realize their dream to earn a degree.

For twenty six years, Dr. Jones has delivered presentations on numerous topics including how to study, leadership, effective communication, and innovative management practices. He is the author of three books titled “Seven Secrets of How to Study” the “Parent’s Ultimate Education Guide” and the “Ultimate Scholarship Guide.” The book provides an easy understanding of the seven pillars that are essential to learning effective study techniques. After twenty-five years of working in higher education, he decided to create a tool to help students to achieve their goal to graduate. Working with students has enabled Dr. Jones to have a complete understanding of the challenges they are facing.

Dr. Jones is currently President of SAJ Publishing. He is also the Associate Dean of Student in the College of engineering at Villanova University. For thirteen years he worked at Drexel University as Director of the SUCCESS/ACT101 program. He has received numerous awards for his dedication to students. Some of his awards include Distinguished Toast Master, Toastmasters District Award Winner, National Society of Black Engineers Award and Black Engineer of the Year Award. The Drexel University chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers recently named an award after him to acknowledge his efforts. The award is titled the Dr. Stephen Jones Award for Academic Excellence. It is presented to a student who has demonstrated academic excellence throughout their enrollment.

Dr. Stephen Jones has dedicated his life to diminishing the academic gap that prevents students from achieving their dreams. Within a span of twenty-five years he has used his understanding of students to help each of them to reach their full potential. He has reshaped the landscape for students whose families lack the financial resources for their students to remain in college. He has broken the barriers that have limited the intellectual capacity of America’s future workforce. Dr. Jones owns two education oriented websites and .