The Strong Start, Strong Finish (SSSF) education initiative launched by Governor Kay Ivey in July 2017, works to integrate Alabama’s early childhood education, K-12 education, and workforce development efforts into a seamless educational journey for all Alabamians.
Since the launch of Strong Start, Strong Finish, Governor Ivey has developed an integrated education-to-workforce talent pipeline that will ensure Alabamians, from every municipality and locality, have access to education and workforce training that leads to employment in an occupation that pays a family-sustaining wage. Strong Start, Strong Finish is also ensuring that each community in Alabama is economically competitive and possesses the skilled workforce needed to attract and grow new industries.
There are three major strategies for SSSF:
Pre to Three is focused on securing state-wide saturation for the Alabama First-Class Pre-K Program and ensuring that all of Alabama’s third graders are proficient readers by 2022. CS4AL will ensure that a rigorous computer science (CS) course is offered at all of Alabama’s middle and high schools by 2022. Success+ will prepare 500,000 more Alabamians to enter the workforce with high-quality postsecondary degrees, certificates, and credentials by 2025.
The Strong Start, Strong Finish Benchmarks
Governor Ivey’s strategic vision for Alabama’s education and workforce system includes five benchmarks to ensure that all Alabamians are prepared for a strong start and a strong finish to their education journey—no matter what phase of life they may find themselves in. Each of the three major Strong Start, Strong Finish strategies—P-3, CS4AL, and Success+—are composed of initiatives designed to make progress against two or more of the five benchmarks.
The five Strong Start, Strong Finish benchmarks are:
- pre-k readiness to ensure that all of Alabama’s four-year-old children are prepared for an excellent early childhood education experience;
- school readiness to ensure that all of Alabama’s five- and six-year-old students enter kindergarten and/or first grade with advanced skills;
- literacy and numeracy by age eight to ensure that all of Alabama’s students are prepared to persist through difficult coursework;
- career exploration and discovery so that all students understand how to connect their interests and aptitudes with academic skills they learn in the classroom; and
- college and/or career readiness so that all students graduate high school prepared to enter postsecondary education or into an in-demand occupation.
During the 2019 Legislative Session, Governor Ivey’s Strong Start, Strong Finish legislative package, the most sweeping and transformative education agenda in over 50 years, passed with full bipartisan support.
The package consists of three bills. The Alabama Literacy Act (Act 2019-523) supports the first three SSSF benchmarks of pre-k readiness, school readiness, and literacy and numeracy. The Computer Science for Alabama (CS4AL) Act (Act 2019-389) supports the third, fourth, and fifth SSSF benchmarks of literacy and numeracy, college and career exploration, and college and/or career readiness. The Alabama Industry-Recognized and Registered Apprenticeship (AIRRAP) Act (Act 2019-506) supports the fourth and fifth SSSF benchmarks of college and career exploration, and college and/or career readiness.