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Lumina Foundation Designates Seven New Cities as Talent Hubs

Nearly $2 million in grants will support local efforts to increase education beyond high school

INDIANAPOLIS–Lumina Foundation, in partnership with The Kresge Foundation, has announced the designation of an additional seven communities across the country as Talent Hubs. These cities, along with 17 others selected in 2017, earned this designation by meeting 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 seven new communities designated as Talent Hubs are: Corpus Christi, Texas; Detroit; Elkhart County, Ind.; Las Vegas; Mobile, Ala.; Rio Grande Valley, Texas; and St. Louis.

Each Talent Hub focuses intensively on one of three populations that is critical to raising the nation’s overall post-high school attainment level to 60 percent of working-age adults by 2025: 18-to-22-year-old students; older adults with college experience who stopped before finishing their studies; or adults with no formal education beyond high school. Talent Hub cities are committed to eliminating deep disparities in educational outcomes among African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, who fare poorly in contrast with white and Asian students.

Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer Danette Howard on how exemplar communities can model what's possible for promoting prosperity in communities across the nation.

The seven new cities join 17 other Talent Hubs: Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Boston; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Denver; Fresno, Calif..; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; New York; Philadelphia; Racine, Wis.; Richmond, Va.; Shasta County, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla..

To date, Talent Hub investments by Lumina and Kresge total just over $10 million.

“We have added to the growing roster of top-flight cities committed to meeting the demands for an educated workforce,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “The Talent Hub designation serves both as an aspirational target for other cities and a foundation from which cities designated as Talent Hubs can build.”

Each community designated as a Talent Hub will receive $275,000 in grant funding over 31 months. Grant funding will support local efforts to educate more people, allowing community and education leaders to better meet the specific needs of residents. Lumina will provide these funds in partnership with Kresge.

Kresge’s support of Talent Hubs comes from its national education program, which includes a focus on aligning and strengthening urban higher education ecosystems to help more low-income, underrepresented, and students of color gain access to—and succeed in—higher education.

”Kresge is proud to continue our partnership in Talent Hubs and to financially support our hometown of Detroit,” said Rip Rapson, Kresge’s president and CEO. “Anchored by the strong partnership between the Detroit Regional Chamber, Wayne State University, and Macomb Community College, the work in Detroit aims to help an additional 35,000 adults complete their degrees. Increasing Detroit’s college attainment rate will help lift native Detroiters out of poverty and add to the city’s ongoing revitalization.”

Talent Hubs are one outgrowth of Lumina’s Community Partnerships for Attainment, which represented more than $10 million of grants to 75 cities across the country. This partnership, which began in 2013, continues to work directly with communities to expand educational opportunities beyond high school.

“With our partners at Kresge, Lumina’s Talent Hubs designation aims to deepen the impact of cross-sector, place-based efforts to increase higher education attainment in communities and cities across the country,” said Danette Howard, Lumina’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer. “Talent Hubs work closely with Lumina and national thought leaders to develop a customized action plan tailored to the needs of their specific communities, with a focus on increasing the percentage of post-high school credentials residents have earned. This effort is directly connected to Lumina’s mission of helping the nation ensure that 60 percent of working-age Americans have quality credentials by 2025.”


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.

The Kresge Foundation was founded in 1924 to promote human progress. Today, Kresge fulfills that mission by building and strengthening pathways to opportunity for low-income people in American cities, seeking to dismantle structural and systemic barriers to equality and justice. Using a full array of grant, loan, and other investment tools, Kresge invests more than $160 million annually to foster economic and social change. For more information visit Kresge.org.

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