We at South Sound Together are excited about efforts in our region to make this  an even better place to live and to do business. Pierce County Strong is one of the local collaborations doing just that. The group, a partnership among area colleges and school districts, is finding creative ways to inspire more students to move on to higher education — without leaving Pierce County.

The technical colleges, and the two-year and four-year academic institutions collaborating are Bates Technical College, Clover Park Technical College, Pacific Lutheran University, Pierce College (Fort Steilacoom and Puyallup), Tacoma Community College, The Tacoma Program of The Evergreen State College, the University of Puget Sound and the University of Washington Tacoma.

They begin working with students as early as middle school to let them know that they are college material and teach them about the many educational options available right here. Inspiring students to keep on learning is important to South Sound’s strength for many reasons.

More education translates directly to higher income. High-school graduates earn 30 percent more than dropouts and college graduates earn more than twice as much as dropouts, according to statistics Pierce County Strong shared with South Sound Together. And by next year, two-thirds of jobs in the state will require a degree or career credential.

A more educated workforce is good for business in the South Sound, too. Currently, 28 percent of adults in Pierce County have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 49 percent in King County and 32 percent in Thurston County.

Find out more about Pierce County Strong.

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