JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown called for more support Monday to raise graduation rates for city students.
Right now, the mayor said only 25% of people older than 25 have a college diploma.
Brown said one of his top priorities is to get that percentage closer to 50%.
He said higher graduation rates will lead to a lot fewer problems across the entire city.
"When we close the education gap, we will close the opportunity gap, and when you close the opportunity gap, you close the economic gap, and when you close the economic gap, you close the crime gap," he said.
To achieve his goal, Brown called on better recruitment efforts of tutors and mentors.
He said more help needs to be available to kids at an earlier age, and he said there needs to be support for high school graduates who do not pursue college.
"This will make us more competitive in the global job market," Brown said.
Brown's comments came at his interfaith breakfast at the Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center Monday morning.
It brought together faith and community leaders from all denominations, backgrounds and organizations.
This year's keynote speaker was Bishop T.D. Jakes of Dallas, Texas.
Jakes expressed support for Brown's vision for education, but said people must look beyond themselves to make it work.
Jakes said despite an increasing lack of civility in many facets of society, he is hopeful people will recognize the need for compromise.
Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nikolai Vitti also applauded Mayor Brown.
Vitti admitted the district is not succeeding in every area, but that progress is being made to meet the mayor's expectations.
He said the faith-based community is the perfect group to call upon for support to continue the district's efforts.
"We need to leverage the good things that are happening and make them more consistent because it takes all of us together to fill the gaps that exist in our society and create a safety net," Vitti said.
First Coast News