Reach Higher New England Convening 2016

FLOTUS Michelle Obama

First Lady Michelle Obama

FLOTUS’ Reach Higher initiative recently sent out a call to action to K-12 and higher education professionals, business leaders, non-profit organizations, and community activists in the New England region.  First Lady Michelle Obama’s national college and career movement has hit the grass roots level.

Increasing post-secondary access and opportunities for all students was the main focus of the first Reach Higher New England Convening (RHNE16), hosted by Assumption College in Worcester, MA on Tuesday, August 17.

Over 300 participants from the New England region, representing K-16 educational institutions, non-profit organizations, federal and state government and members of the business community were in attendance.

Reach Higher is a top priority of First Lady Michelle Obama’s on-going efforts to encourage students to pursue postsecondary educational opportunities beyond high school.

This is just one of several Obama Administration initiatives to regain our premier status as the #1 producer of college graduates worldwide by 2020.

A Day Long Affair

Bob Bardwell, Convening Chair/Massachusetts Team Leader, and his planning committee organized an event filled day that provided for multiple learning sessions, insightful discussions, and networking opportunities.

The day began with a moving keynote address delivered by Josh Steckel, Senior College and Career Planning Manager for New York City’s College Access for All Initiative.  Josh and his wife, Beth Zasloff, are co-authors of Hold Fast To Dreams: A College Guidance Counselor, His Students and the Vision of a Life Beyond Poverty, winner of the Studs & Ida Terkel Prize.

Given the college and career challenges associated with student success and post-secondary education today, a sense of urgency and deep concern permeated throughout the gathering.

RHNE16 Panel Discussion

RHNE16 Panel Discussion

As outlined by the convening agenda, the topics discussed during the all-day meeting were among the following:

  • Preparing all for viable careers and citizenship
  • Financing post-secondary education
  • Post-secondary access, persistence, and completion
  • Marketing and communication

The meeting itself laid the potential groundwork for more solution-focused and collaborative pathways designed to increase access and opportunities for all students.

The Reach Higher Initiative is a national campaign.  Its goal is to establish roots at the state and local level to drive forward its message of access and educational opportunity for all.

This free inaugural event was sponsored by New England Association for College Admissions Counseling, the College Board, Universal Technical Institute and Assumption College.

Join the Movement

For more information about how you, your institution, or community can get involved, contact Team Leader, Bob Bardwell, Reach Higher Massachusetts @413-267-4589 X1109;;

Or visit Reach Higher MA website