Executive Director Speaks at Events Promoting College Completion

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Phi Theta Kappa Executive Director Dr. Rod Risley joined Jones County Junior College President Dr. Jesse Smith in launching the college's drive to increase college completion rates. Phi Theta Kappa and its partners in the Community College Completion Challenge are spearheading the initiative in the community college arena through the Community College Completion Corps. Dr. Risley, Dr. Smith and hundreds of faculty signed the graduation pledge on campus at the Mississippi college's first faculty meeting of the new academic year. Dr. Risley's remarks to college faculty shared facts about the importance of finishing the degree individuals set out to achieve. "Nationally, 84 percent of college students intend to complete a baccalaureate degree, but only 10 percent actually do. In 2018, all jobs will require a post-secondary education," said Dr. Risley. "Community colleges are the answer. Today, they are the fastest, most effective way to improve local economies and develop communities. We have a proven record of results. A student with an associate degree who must leave college and go unexpectedly into the workforce will make more than a student with three years of baccalaureate classes with no degree," he added. "This graduation initiative is vital to the success of our economy, both now and for future generations," said Dr. Smith. "It's important for all of us to see the big picture and take action. For the first time in history, America's youth run the risk of being less educated than their parents. The United States dropped from first to twelfth among developed countries in the number of young adults with college degrees." In support of the credential completion campaign, the Rho Sigma Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa has created "The Tassel's Worth the Hassle," as their Five Star Chapter Development Plan College Project. The campaign will raise awareness and share statistics with students proving the numerous benefits of degree attainment. The chapter will hold a signing day for students to commit to complete, with Dr. Smith, college administrators, and Board of Trustees also participating. "Rho Sigma is honored to be a part of the college completion initiative that is taking place at Jones," said Chapter President Gwen Matuszewski. "There are many statistics that show just how beneficial graduating from community colleges can be for both the students and the colleges. We hope to spread the word about the benefits of community college completion as much as we can. Rho Sigma supports bettering the community and the lives of students, and getting involved with this initiative is a great opportunity to do that." Dr. Risley has also spoken on the importance of college completion at Mississippi's Pearl River Community College and Hinds Community College. At Hinds Dr. Risley was joined by Tameka Wilson, Phi Theta Kappa's 2011-2012 International President, and a member of Hinds' Gamma Lambda Chapter. Phi Theta Kappa chapters may find completion resources to plan completion events on their campus, and report events to Headquarters, here.