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 6

Living up to the Designation” – Hispanic Serving Institutions

As of 2016, the Latino population in the United States has reached nearly 58 million people.  Latinos now account for 18% of the population and are the second-largest racial or ethnic group in the United States. We have dedicated today’s show to talking about those colleges and universities that are serving Hispanic students.  Known as Hispanic-Serving Institutions, we explore what they are, how they are working, and what more they can be doing to live up to their mission.  Our first guest today is Beatriz Ceja-Williams, division director at the U.S. Department of Education, who leads the department’s division focused on Hispanic-Serving Institutions.  We are also joined by Dr. Gina Garcia, assistant professor at the University of Pittsburgh, who studies equity and diversity within higher education.  Finally, Deborah Santiago, co-founder and CEO of Excelencia in Education, joins us to discuss her organization’s efforts to accelerate Latino student success in higher education. Read more »


Episode 5

 “Education is Public Safety” – Supporting justice-involved learners

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world with more than 2 million Americans incarcerated at any point in time. Each year, our prison system releases nearly 600,000 individuals back to their families and communities. Our guests today are focused on ensuring that all those impacted by incarceration – the individual, family, community, and America broadly – have the support and opportunities inside and outside of prison to lead a successful life. We begin with Dr. Danette Howard and Haley Glover from Lumina Foundation who provide a national perspective on this work and describe Lumina’s emerging efforts to better serve those impacted by incarceration. Michael Mendoza from the Anti-Recidivism Coalition joins us to talk about his efforts in California before we conclude with Syrita Steib-Martin from Operation Restoration in New Orleans who is providing direct support to women and girls impacted by incarceration and leading “Ban the Box” initiatives around the United States. Read more »


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 »