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The Times
  • Community Foundation goal: Increase area’s education

  • By 2025, the number of residents with bachelor’s degrees will increase significantly — at least that’s what the Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counties is aiming for.

    The nonprofit announced Wednesday the 25/25 initiative: a plan to increase the percentage of adults in Herkimer and Oneida Counties who have bachelor’s degrees to 25 percent by the year 2025.

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  • By 2025, the number of residents with bachelor’s degrees will increase significantly — at least that’s what the Community Foundation of Oneida and Herkimer Counties is aiming for.
    The nonprofit announced Wednesday the 25/25 initiative: a plan to increase the percentage of adults in Herkimer and Oneida Counties who have bachelor’s degrees to 25 percent by the year 2025.
    The initiative is about being pro-active and investing in the community, said Marketing and Communications Officer Cassaundra Baber.
    “We don’t want to just give money, we want to be involved,” she said.
    The number of adults, those ages 25 and older, with bachelor’s degrees in both counties — Oneida County at 21 percent and Herkimer County at 18 percent — currently falls below the state average of 31 percent and the national average of 28 percent, according to data compiled by the foundation.
    “We’re really kind of lagging in that area,” said Barbara Henderson, vice president for programs and community initiatives at the Community Foundation.
    Communities with higher education levels have higher incomes, lower poverty rates, lower health costs and less reliance on state and federal services, according to the Community Foundation.
    The foundation is currently in the research stages of the initiative, discovering what is being done in the community now, and if there are any gaps or needs not being filled.
    The foundation will be reaching out to other organizations, businesses, government and community leaders to assist in the process.
    Ideas to increase the percentage of degree holders include offering job incentives enticing people to come to the area and stay, increasing funding to education programs and increasing internship opportunities, Henderson said.
    Once areas of need are identified, the foundation can then go about delineating funding, or bringing programs together to best accomplish the 25 in 25 goal.
    The community needs an educated workforce to be able to support and sustain businesses, said Richard Callahan co-chair of the foundation Community Investment Committee, and vice president of NBT Bank in Utica. “It’s key toward the long-term future of the community,” he said of the initiative.
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