BOSTON, Mass. (SHNS)– On the same day that a coalition launched behind the goal of boosting enrollment in early college programs from 4,500 to 45,000 in five years, the chair of the state’s K-12 education board also touted outcomes of early college.

The Massachusetts Alliance for Early College — whose more than 80 member organizations include the Mass. Business Alliance for Education, MassINC, Latinos for Education, State Universities Council of Presidents, Mass. Association of Community Colleges, Mass. Association of School Superintendents and several school districts — announced its formation Tuesday, calling for the state to “make a significant investment in scaling up” early college efforts.

State Street is the initiative’s first corporate backer, CEO Ron O’Hanley said in a statement. Calling early college “a promising economic development strategy that is designed to reduce racial and social inequities in college access,” O’Hanley said his company invested $1.3 million into early college programs and “provided seed funding for the Massachusetts Alliance for Early College.”

Early college has grown rapidly in Massachusetts, with 31 state-designated programs involving 42 high schools and 22 colleges, but still only meets a fraction of the demand, according to the alliance.

At a Tuesday Board of Elementary and Secondary Education meeting, the first since Gov. Charlie Baker filed his $48.5 billion spending plan for fiscal 2023, Chair Katherine Craven said she wanted to thank Baker for his budget’s early college funding. Baker recommended growing early college funding from the $11 million allocated this year to $18 million, according to the alliance. “I think unanimously people can support that,” Craven said. “If they don’t even support the funding, the concept and the results and the progress that that program makes and the equity that it brings across the commonwealth is amazing.”