Today's Students,
Tomorrow's Talent

The Podcast

Lumina Foundation presents conversations with newsmakers and thought leaders in the field of education and training after high school. Hear from people working to attract, retain, and cultivate the talent America needs for the 21st century. 

Episode 4

“Love the students you have, not the ones you wish you had.” – Making college accessible and affordable for adults

Across the country, leaders in education are working to make college accessible and affordable—not only for traditional students but for adults who want to go back to school to complete the degrees that in many cases they started years ago. Join us as we talk with Dr. Shanna Jackson, president of Nashville State Community College, Dr. Rachelle Sharpe, deputy director of the Washington Student Achievement Council, and Ben Cannon, executive director of the Oregon Higher Education Commission, about their plans to support adults’ postsecondary plans. Read more »


Episode 3

“No more waiting.” – Student voice in creating change

For many, the speed of change in academia is too slow, and the process too exclusionary.  Students themselves are often left out of these important conversations - that is until they insert themselves through organizing and advocacy to make sure their voices are heard. Our guests today are no strangers to inserting student voice into important policy and practice decisions. Through their efforts, they are making sure students are heard and accounted for in education reform. Join us as Lauren Schandevel talks about her student-led activism to better support low-income students at the University of Michigan, followed by a conversation with Rachel Fleischer, the executive director of Young Invincibles, who leads national campaigns to elevate student voice in important policy decisions.  Our episode closes with a new segment called Pop Ed, where we explore the growing and eccentric overlap between higher education and pop culture with Lumina’s own Dr. Katherine Wheatle. Read more »


Episode 2

“I decided to keep going.” – High school dropout to college freshman

Over 30 million working-age adults lack a high school diploma. There are few employment opportunities in today’s economy for these Americans as most jobs require some kind of education or training after high school There are even fewer pathways for adults who were failed by the K-12 system to earn their high school diploma, let alone a postsecondary credential. The Goodwill Excel Centers are changing that for thousands of adults each year, giving people a chance to earn a high school diploma, college credit, and/or an industry-recognized credential. Betsy Delgado, Vice President of Mission and Education at Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana, and Nyla Wills, a recent alum of the Excel Center, discuss the program and the impact it’s having on people’s lives. Later in the show Dr. Chauncy Lennon, Lumina’s new vice president for the future of learning and work, discusses his new role at Lumina and explores emerging trends in the future of work. Read more »


Episode 1

“I know my price.” – Investing in majority-black communities

There are 1,200 majority-black places in the United States.  Each community has economic, social, and political strength, yet lacks investments commensurate with its assets. Dr. Andre Perry, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, explains that it is not talent the prevents black communities from thriving; It’s inequity. Read more »