Twenty communities commit to postsecondary attainment goals
INDIANAPOLIS–Today, 20 U.S. communities were announced as the first partners in a promising community mobilization initiative led by Lumina Foundation. Designed to help communities and regions dramatically increase the number of local residents with postsecondary credentials, the collaborative effort connects participating cities with significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding and special access to a powerful network of national thought leaders.
“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina. “Increased attainment delivers stronger local economies, greater individual earning power and better quality of life. Every community in America wants that, and we’ve designed this work to give civic leaders the tools they need to be successful.”
Increased attainment delivers stronger economies, greater individual earnings and better quality of life
The program aims to mobilize all sectors in a community around improving postsecondary attainment. Communities will partner with Lumina and national thought leaders through 2016 to establish attainment goals and work with national partners develop an action plan focused on reaching the attainment goal to increase the percentage of high-quality credentials held by community residents. Progress toward the goal will be measured by credentials earned after high school including certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees held by local residents. The cities selected have already demonstrated momentum in advancing attainment agendas, and this effort aims to expand and deepen their work.
Lumina’s partners on this effort will provide guidance to the cities as they develop goals and action plans. The national thought-leadership organizations that communities will have access to through this work include: American Chamber of Commerce Executives, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, Brookings Institution, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, DCA, Inc., Excelencia in Education, The Harwood Institute, Institute for Higher Education Policy, National College Access Network, National League of Cities, OMG Center, Say Yes to Education Foundation, Strive Together, Talent Dividend and United Way Worldwide.
“We are pleased to partner with Lumina Foundation to raise educational attainment in communities across the country,” said Clifford M. Johnson, executive director, Institute for Youth, Education, and Families at the National League of Cities. “Mayors and other city leaders know that by collaborating across sectors to boost college completion rates, they are helping to boost the economic development of the city, and the quality of life and well-being of their neighborhoods and families.”
The first cohort of communities includes: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.; San Antonio, Texas; Santa Ana, Calif.; South Seattle/South King County, Wash. and Syracuse, N.Y..
“If you intend to be a great 21st century city, increased education attainment has to be at the heart of everything you do,” said Clotilde Perez-Bode Dedecker, president and CEO of the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo. “This partnership is a real game changer because it opens the door to a host of powerful resources that we—and all cities across the country—need to be effective. This initiative will help us further develop our workforce, grow our economy and empower our citizens.”
Lumina plans to invest approximately $4 million into the first cohort. Each community will be eligible for an allocation of $200,000 over a three-year period which will be tied to achievement of goals. The overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.
“It is our hope that Lumina’s support can fan the flames that are already burning in our Partnership cities, improving results there and showing cities across the country how this gets done and just how transformational education can be for communities’ social, economic and civic strength,” said Haley Glover, strategy director at Lumina Foundation overseeing this work.