CivicLab Chosen by Lumina Foundation to Serve and Expand Talent Hubs Network
Talent Development

CivicLab Chosen by Lumina Foundation to Serve and Expand Talent Hubs Network

Logos of Lumina, Civic Lab, Talent Hubs, and Community Education Coalition.

COLUMBUS, Indiana—Today CivicLab, a program of the Community Education Coalition of Columbus, Indiana, announced that it has been chosen by Lumina Foundation to assume responsibility for Lumina’s national Talent Hub network and Lumina’s Community Network.

The Talent Hub network includes 26 communities across America that were awarded a “Talent Hub” designation by Lumina in partnership with The Kresge Foundation between 2017 and 2020.  Lumina’s Community Network includes nearly 100 cross-sector community and regional partnerships focused on fostering equity and improving education outcomes. CivicLab will be working with Lumina and other philanthropies to expand these networks and help communities focus on educational attainment, racial equity, and economic mobility.

Each of the current Talent Hub communities was awarded its designation by meeting rigorous standards for creating an environment that attracts, retains, and cultivates talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college, and from low-income households.

The Community Education Coalition (CEC) and its largest regional initiative, the EcO Network of Southeast Indiana (Economic Opportunities through Education), represent Columbus/Southeast Indiana, one of the 26 communities designated as  Talent Hubs.

The other 25 Hubs are:  Albuquerque, New Mexico; Boston; Cincinnati; Cleveland; Corpus Christi, Texas; Dayton, Ohio; Denver; Detroit; Elkhart County, Indiana; Fresno, California; Las Vegas; Los Angeles; Mobile, Alabama; Nashville, Tennessee; New York; Northeast Indiana; Philadelphia; Racine, Wisconsin; Richmond, Virginia; Rio Grande Valley, Texas; Shasta County, California; Southwest Florida; St. Louis; Tampa Bay, Florida; and Tulsa, Oklahoma.

“The nation’s Talent Hubs are a shining example of how communities can foster higher levels of educational attainment among their residents,” said Jamie Merisotis, Lumina Foundation’s president and CEO. “We could not be more pleased that CivicLab and Dakota Pawlicki will carry on this important work. They played important roles in supporting this innovative approach to creating a better-educated country.”

Pawlicki, who led the Talent Hubs work at Lumina, will join the CivicLab team to lead the network’s activities.  “Local and regional cross-sector partnerships have proven to be an effective vehicle for equity-focused systems change.” Pawlicki said.  “Lumina has incubated this work since 2012, and the network has grown to a level of maturity that warrants this transition, allowing CivicLab to more comprehensively serve the partnerships in the Talent Hub and Community Network.”

As it assumes responsibility for the Talent Hub and Community Networks, CivicLab will use the tools and frameworks embedded in its Stakeholder Engagement Process—an inclusive process that features relationship building, stakeholder engagement, data-based decision making, and collective leadership.

“We are truly honored to be chosen by Lumina Foundation to carry the Talent Hubs work forward,” said Jack Hess, executive director of CivicLab. “Working with Lumina for the past seven years throughout the country as the ‘partnership health’ partner, we recognize the opportunity to be of even greater service. We’re passionately committed to developing talent,” Hess said, “and we subscribe to the belief that it’s a systems thing, not a single thing that will cause profound talent advancement.”

Added John Burnett, co-founder of CivicLab and president and CEO of Community Education Coalition: “We are grateful to Lumina for their confidence in us, and we recognize the responsibility we have to serve communities as each one addresses education attainment, equity and economic mobility in the context of racial, economic, and pandemic challenges.”

As a part of its work with Talent Hubs, the Lumina Community Network, and additional communities, CivicLab will use the first half of 2021 to “co-create” the future work through a series of meetings and workshops. Those events will seek to assess the current state of each community’s work, identify their current and future needs, and determine how CivicLab can best help.

During this time, the CivicLab team will also seek to identify other forms of help it can offer, including workshops and technical assistance for stakeholders at educational institutions, businesses, government agencies, and other organizations.


About Lumina Foundation: Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy.

About the Community Education Coalition: The CEC is a partnership of business, education, and community leaders whose goal is to align the learning system to support economic growth and a high quality of life with special emphasis on Columbus and Southeast Indiana, while also supporting state and national work.  The CEC’s mission is to promote initiatives that will increase our population’s access to education, increase the overall educational attainment of the region and align the regional learning system with economic opportunity in the places we call home. And, the Community Education Coalition advances equity in all its work, paying special attention to racial and income inequality, to ensure that each person thrives educationally, financially, and civically.

About CivicLab: CivicLab, An Institute for Civic Collaboration (a program of the Community Education Coalition) is a nonprofit institute dedicated to advancing the practice of civic collaboration and leading complex social systems. CivicLab’s approach is to: 1) learn what makes community collaboration work at its best, 2) document the discoveries, and 3) teach and share the practices broadly. The purpose of the work is to help communities increase their collective capacity—which is their ability to get things done, together. As both an overarching set of principles and a hands-on practice for improving a community, CivicLab’s Stakeholder Engagement Process provides people with a common language and common approach for dissolving complex social problems. It’s a way of thinking and a disciplined way of working together to redesign a social system whose underlying conditions are causing the unwanted problems in the first place. Since its inception, CivicLab has partnered with over 300 communities and organizations across the U.S. and trained more than 14,000 leaders of foundations, educational institutions, government, corporations, and community development organizations.

For more than six decades, spanning across generations of leaders, the community of Columbus, Indiana has cultivated a living laboratory for how the public, private, and social sectors can work together to collectively address complex social problems and produce meaningful outcomes. The community’s leadership narrative unpacks the practices for transforming a social system by ultimately cultivating the relationships among people who shape those systems.

About Talent Hubs: The Talent Hub designation signifies that a local or regional cross-sector partnership has met rigorous standards for creating environments that attract, retain, and cultivate talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college, and from low-income households.  The designation serves both as an aspirational target for other cities to aim for and a platform from which cities designated

Back to News