Growing Inland Achievement receives $1.29 million to expand work in advancing educational, economic opportunities

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Photo GIA: From left: Growing Inland Achievement Boardmember Paul Granillo, CEO Carlos Ayala, Boardmembers Henry Shannon, Dr. Judy White, Sheila Thornton, Ted Alejandre, Wolde-ab Isaac and Tomás Morales.
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Growing Inland Achievement (GIA) has received a $1.29 million grant to expand its efforts to create a more vibrant regional economy by improving educational attainment across San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Specifically, the grant, from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will be used to create a blueprint for supporting institutional transformation on a greater scale – part of a longer-term strategy by GIA to link the region’s education to its workforce opportunities.

”We’re extremely grateful for the opportunity this funding affords us to build new linkages between the extensive network of individuals and institutions that impact post-secondary success for low-income and students of color in the IE,” said Carlos Ayala, GIA’s chief executive officer. “We’re confident this work not only can have a transformative impact on the Inland Empire, but become a model for other region’s facing similar challenges and opportunities.”

The IE represents one of the most robust population and economic corridors in the United States, though historically low educational attainment levels have contributed to a continuous cycle of generational poverty. Research shows that the IE will need at least 121,000 additional college graduates by 2030 to meet economic demands – nearly twice as many as are currently completing college.

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GIA was established in 2015 to address this challenge, and has establish five broad goals:

  • Align educational policy and initiatives regionally via development of a bi-county cradle-to-career collective impact model.
  • Increase college preparedness resulting in a 20% reduction in the number of students requiring remediation at matriculation from high school to college.
  • Increase baccalaureate, associate, certificate and credential attainment by 15% within five years.
  • Increase the number of students completing the baccalaureate degree within six years by 10% within five years.
  • Improve career preparedness through strengthened partnership with industry to better align education with workforce development needs.

“Our vision is that by 2035, the IE will be widely recognized for a well-educated workforce, thriving communities, and vibrant economy that create prosperity for all,” Ayala said. “Our ultimate goal is to create education pathways for all postsecondary students that lead to good jobs by linking P-12 to Post-Secondary to Career.” 

The $1.29 million grant funding will allow GIA to develop a business plan to identify ways that the organization can best support post-secondary transformation within the IE, while also developing the internal capacity to begin executing the plan. A major objective will be to expand its network of educational institutions, community partners and other resources – building more accessible and fruitful pathways from cradle to career.

For more information on Growing Inland Achievement, including a list of network partners, please visit: www.inlandempiregia.org.

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