We found a problem.
In 2008, the Spartanburg Area Chamber of Commerce assembled the “Task Force on College Degree Attainment” to explore the connection between the County’s economic development and educational achievement. The study revealed that among adults 25 years and older, the bachelor’s degree rate was 19.18%, with the State average at 22.7%, the nation at 27% consequentially “holding down our citizens’ earning power, limiting their economic mobility, and … threatening economic development.”
The Task Force offered several recommendations, including the “40/30 Challenge: a challenge to increase bachelor degree holding of county residents 25 years and older to 40% by the year 2030.
The College Hub is born.
The Spartanburg County Foundation took up the report in early 2009 and in 2010, the Foundation established the backbone organization, The College Hub, as a 501.c.3 enterprise. The College Hub began its work in late 2010, concentrating on encouraging increasing numbers of young people to go to college. The College Hub has been active in our K-12 schools, college fairs, and offering direct assistance to families and young people to whom college access seemed out of reach.
Despite its positive efforts, the College Hub was only addressing a small portion of the broader agenda: changing the culture in Spartanburg County from disinterest to excitement and commitment. Though the “40/30 Challenge” remains the ultimate test of our cultural change, it will not be reached unless all points of education are advancing at the same time, from kindergarten readiness through K-12 achievement, high school graduation, workforce readiness, associate and baccalaureate completion.
Starting a movement.
In 2012, the Board expanded its mission to reflect this broadened range of concerns; and changed its name from “The College Hub” to “The Spartanburg Academic Movement.”