Powerful Partnerships Fuel Detroit’s Rebirth

From his downtown office, Detroit Regional Chamber President Sandy Baruah has an expansive view of his city’s recent renaissance. Just five years after declaring bankruptcy, the Motor City has shifted gears and turned itself around. Now recognized as a Talent Hub, Detroit is working hard – and in an intensely collaborative way – to ensure its residents have the education and training they need to succeed in today’s economy.


Cultures Connect to Aid Indiana County

Elkhart County, Indiana, has been in the economic spotlight before – a light that was especially harsh during the Great Recession, when unemployment spiked at 20 percent. Things are much better these days, and a local talent-development coalition is committed to maintaining that momentum. The coalition is decidedly cross-cultural, involving local industry, a growing Latino population and a progressive university affiliated with the Mennonite Church.


Education Mobilizes the City of Mobile

There’s a new spirit of unity among the colleges and universities that serve students in Mobile, Alabama. Where they used to compete to enroll these students, these once-siloed institutions are now collaborating to help them find clear pathways to success. The collaboration – fostered by Chandra Scott of the Mobile Area Education Foundation – is part of what sets Mobile apart as a Talent Hub.


Even in today’s digitized, algorithm-driven world, there’s a lot to be said for the do-it-yourself spirit. That drive—to blaze a trail, to shape a new tool or a work of art, to devise a unique solution for a particular problem—is deeply human, part of who we are.

Sue Headden headshot

The stories in this issue of Focus were reported and written by Susan Headden, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and communications professional with many years of experience covering education issues. Headden, a former staff writer at The Indianapolis Star, worked nearly 16 years at U.S. News & World Report, ultimately serving as a managing editor. She later held senior positions at the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. She now works as a communications consultant based in Washington, D.C.

Editing | David S. Powell
Editorial assistance | Ruth Holladay
Photography | Shawn Spence Photography
Design & development | IronGate Creative
Multimedia production | Matthew Jenkins
Video production | Brandon Callahan, VOX Global

Focus Archive


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Adult students
Black male student success
Community partnerships
Competency-based education
Comprehensive student records
Earth-friendly careers
Economical instruction
Employer-sponsored tuition reimbursement
Learning assessment
Native American students
Non-degree credentials
Prison education
Quality assurance
Rural students
Short-term credentials
Struggles of Today's Student
Student supports
Student veterans
Students with Development Disabilities
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