Talent Hubs

Talent Hubs Self-Assessment Tool

Welcome to the Talent Hub Self-Assessment tool. Please read this note in its entirety before moving on.

This self-assessment tool is designed to assist local and regional cross-sector partnerships in their continuous improvement efforts, and serves as a first step towards achieving the Talent Hub designation. The tool is a series of questions, organized into six sections:

  1. General
  2. Partnership Health
  3. Alignment
  4. Equity
  5. Scale, Systems, and Sustainability, and
  6. Attainment and Impact.

This assessment can be used as a developmental tool for any partnership looking to improve the way stakeholders work together to achieve common goals. It is especially relevant for partnerships focused on improving postsecondary attainment. Partnerships are encouraged to use this tool for their own development, independent from Lumina Foundation's Talent Hub designation process, by printing each section and distributing the survey among key stakeholders.

This tool is also the first step in the Talent Hub designation process (see below for an overview of the process). For those communities interested in determining if they are a Talent Hub, they may indicate their interest by submitting the form to Lumina in the final section. After submitting the form, you will contact Lumina to schedule an exploratory call where, among other things, the results of the form will be discussed. Instructions are included in the final stages of the form.

Some important considerations to take into account when completing this form include

Honest Reflection and Assessment: This tool is only effective if the respondent is honest and reflective when answering each question. Some questions have obvious answers, making it easy to respond with confidence. Others require a respondent’s subjective assessment. The tool is only as good as the information put into it.

Not All Yeses: A Talent Hub is not defined as a partnership that can respond yes to every question. Partnerships are often complex and unique to their own context. Therefore, it is reasonable that a highly effective partnership will have a mix of yes, maybe, and no responses throughout the self-assessment tool. In designing the tool this way, Lumina hopes to meet partnerships where they are, provide a continuous improvement tool that helps partnerships achieve their goals, and encourage honest reflection among key stakeholders. Most importantly, partnerships should not try to respond “yes” to every question. This will ultimately reduce the effectiveness of the tool.

The Whole Partnership: This tool is best used when multiple key stakeholders are active in responding to the questions. The questions address the entire partnership, not just one organization or leader of the partnership. Partnerships that respond from only one perspective often create inaccurate assessments. For those engaging in the Talent Hub designation process, an inaccurate assessment will create challenging conditions at later phases when asked to verify and/or provide evidence supporting responses. A partnership may consider sending this assessment to key stakeholders for individual reflection, followed by a group discussion, and then (if pursuing designation) submit one response to Lumina. Doing so will create opportunities for dialogue among key partners and a more accurate assessment of the partnership.

Reserve the Right to Revise: Lumina Foundation is a learning organization, and as such applies learning generated through its strategic work on an ongoing basis. Lumina reserve the right to alter this self-assessment tool at any time.

A final note about the Talent Hub designation for those communities wishing to proceed through the designation process: The Talent Hub designation is specific in many ways, requiring cross-sector partnerships that include higher education institutions, requiring disaggregated reporting to the National Student Clearinghouse, requiring partnerships to have a specific focus on postsecondary completion, to name a few. As such, Lumina and its partners are as concerned with fit when assessing a partnership. Some very effective partnerships will not be eligible for Talent Hub designation due to issues related to strategic fit.

For those interested in beginning the Talent Hub designation process, more information is below.

Thank you for your interest and efforts to improve education outcomes for your community. If you have questions, please reach us at communitypartnership@luminafoundation.org.

The Talent Hub Designation Process

Applying for the Talent Hub designation is a four-step process.

Step 1: Complete the Self-Assessment Tool

Following the directions above, a partnership should complete the self-assessment tool and submit a response for review. Only one response should be submitted on behalf of a partnership. Every partnership that submits a response will proceed to step 2—a partnership will not be removed from consideration based on their responses.

Self-Assessment Tool

Step 2: Complete Consultation Call(s) with Lumina

After submitting a self-assessment, the partnership should email Dakota Pawlicki at dpawlicki@luminafoundation.org to schedule a consultation call. A partnership may require more than one consultation call during step 2. Consultation calls have two phases:

Exploration: The partnership and Lumina learn about each other, discusses the Talent Hub designation, and general observations from the self-assessment. This phase is primarily focused on ensuring fit between a partnership, Lumina, and the Talent Hub designation.

Validation: Lumina will ask probing questions about the partnership, its work, and about the responses to the self-assessment. Partnerships may need to provide evidence and/or engage key stakeholders in the conversation.

Lumina recognizes that completing an application for Talent Hub designation is a time and resource-intensive process. These consultation calls are intended to reduce the probability of an unsuccessful application by:

  1. clearly communicating the expectations and standards of the Talent Hub designation, and
  2. completing an early, low-stakes, collegial evaluation of a partnership against Talent Hub standards. It is likely that many partnerships will not advance to step.

Step 3: Complete a Talent Hub application

If both Lumina and the partnership agree that a Talent Hub designation fits with the partnership and has a positive likelihood of success, Lumina will release a Talent Hub application to the partnership. Each partnership will have a unique submission deadline based upon when the application is released.

Not all designated Talent Hubs will receive grant funding. Earning the designation—that is being identified and elevated as a national exemplar—has value in and of itself.

Limited funding may be available for designated Talent Hubs at Lumina’s discretion. It is unlikely that any Talent Hub will receive funding if designated after October 2019.

Step 4: Application Review

Lumina and its external reviewers will review Talent Hub applications on a rolling basis. If successful, a Talent Hub designation will be issued to the partnership. If unsuccessful, an applicant will receive feedback on their proposal.

Additional Information about Talent Hubs

Talent Hubs, a term coined by Jamie Merisotis in America Needs Talent, are communities that organize and align themselves around talent development goals to offer and create multiple pathways to attract, retain, and cultivate talent and drive improvements in postsecondary credential attainment. Talent Hubs selected through this designation process are committing to significantly accelerate and advance community and regional credential attainment efforts. Talent Hubs will do this by improving the ecosystem in which learners follow the pathway into, through, and out of their postsecondary experience with a high-quality degree, certificate, or other credential. Talent Hubs cultivate talent by pursuing system change at scale. These cross-sector partnerships understand that increasing postsecondary attainment is not about fixing the individual; it is about fixing systems and institutions in a way that intentionally addresses racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic attainment gaps.

Talent Hubs is not a grant initiative. It is a designation that recognizes dynamic and effective community partnerships capable of accelerating equitable postsecondary credential completion. The Talent Hub designation is comprised of five domains:

  • Partnership Health: Conditions, processes, and systems in place for the relationship-building, stakeholder engagement, data-based decision-making, and collective leadership necessary to achieve common attainment goals
  • Equity: Closing attainment gaps using system-level strategies specifically designed to meet the needs of American Indian, African American, and Hispanic learners
  • Attainment and Impact: Strategies that drive credential completion and community-wide attainment above increasing access
  • Alignment: Cross-sector partnerships using shared resources to accomplish common goals
  • Scale, Sustainability, and Systems: Leveraging systems-change to accelerate community-wide postsecondary attainment

Successful applications for Talent Hub designation clearly articulate the community’s current plan to increase postsecondary attainment, regardless of whether it receives Lumina support. Talent Hubs are exemplary communities that currently have the capacity, ability, and partnerships to accomplish their bold vision for postsecondary attainment. They do not depend on technical assistance or agencies outside the community to design, implement, or validate key components of their work plan. Talent Hubs are national leaders, exemplars for other community partnerships, and proof points for innovation.

Successful applications for Talent Hub designation will:

  1. Address institution- and system-wide practices and policies at postsecondary institutions that align with community actions—pilot programs will not be considered;
  2. Consider sustainability from the outset, and advance work that does NOT require ongoing grant support for continuation;
  3. Represent a shift that significantly expands attainment for adults and people of color; and
  4. Reflect aligned thinking and program design, that clearly documents how proposed strategies will impact target populations.

General Application Background Information

Qualified Talent Hub lead applicants may represent a variety of community sectors, including civic organizations, philanthropy, chambers of commerce, and other entities. Postsecondary institutions may also serve as the lead applicant but must be able to show evidence of community collaboration and engagement.

Successful Talent Hub applicants will work collaboratively across sectors and directly with at least one postsecondary partner to implement a collection of strategies to improve postsecondary attainment outcomes for priority populations. Strategies included in the workplan should disproportionately increase credential completion for American Indian, African American, and/or Hispanic learners. Successful applications include both community mobilization efforts and aligned postsecondary system changes, with resources shared among key organizations.

Applicants should consider the following guidance:

Traditional Age Learners (20-24 years old)—Strategies focused on traditional-age learners should focus solely on those currently enrolled in postsecondary institutions. Successful proposals will include strategies that prevent stop-outs, improve leading indicators (e.g. enrollment/re-enrollment, persistence/retention), and produce high-quality credentials by 2020. Dual credit, K-12 alignment, CTE pathways, access-oriented strategies or partnerships, and other strategies focused on learners not currently enrolled in postsecondary, while valuable, will not be considered.

Credential Production—Successful proposals will include specific and measurable strategies that produce credentials for the identified priority population. Priority populations for Talent Hubs are limited to:

  • Traditional Age Learners (20-24 years old)
  • Adults with some postsecondary experience but no credential
  • Adults with no postsecondary experience

Applications should clearly state, numerically and in percentage/rates, how many additional credentials will be produced above the current baseline by 2020. All proposed strategies included in the work plan should directly support credential completion goals specified by the applicant.

Equity – Successful proposals include strategies that will have a disproportionately positive impact on postsecondary outcomes for identified equity populations. All strategies should be designed and implemented with an equity lens. While some strategies may impact all learners at a given institution, successful applications will articulate their numerical impact on closing completion gaps for students of color. Further, the strategies implemented must be at sufficient scale and accompanied by credible and concrete plans for sustainability through institutional, organizational, and/or public policy. Pilots and/or cohort-based programs will not be considered.

Outcomes – Talent Hub proposals should clearly state numerical outcomes, especially for credential completion by year for the specified populations. Successful proposals clearly articulate numerical growth in leading indicators (e.g. enrollment/re-enrollment, persistence/retention) and completion. Outcomes should be expressed as both raw numbers and percentages to ensure that the scope and scale of the work is clear.

Data Consent Forms – All postsecondary education providers in a Talent Hub must currently submit disaggregated race/ethnicity data to the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC). Further. all application packets must include executed NSC data consent forms for each participating institution. This consent permits Lumina to receive institutionally identifiable completion, retention, and transfer information, disaggregated by age, race/ethnicity, and enrollment intensity (i.e., full-time, part-time). Lumina will never receive student-level identifiable data. These reports will be used exclusively for learning purposes and will not be shared without the written consent of the postsecondary institution. Applicants are advised to prioritize the execution of these consent forms, as institutions often need additional time for legal review. Finally, alterations to the consent form are not permitted. Failure to follow through on disaggregated data submission will result in withdrawal of the Talent Hub designation.

Technical Assistance – Designated Talent Hubs are partnerships that do not require substantial technical assistance to execute their strategies. As part of the process of becoming designated as a Talent Hub, applicants will have demonstrated that they already possess the capacity, infrastructure, and expertise to implement strategies with fidelity. While some professional development opportunities will be available to designated Talent Hubs, as high functioning models of effective practice, they will also be expected to help peers adapt their strategies for application elsewhere in the national Talent Hub landscape. For these reasons, applicants should refrain from identifying technical assistance needs in their proposal.

Exemplars – Talent Hubs serve as exemplars to other communities throughout the nation. As such, work plans should focus on producing high-quality credentials rather than building the capacity required to do so. The Talent Hub designation acknowledges exemplary status at the time of awarding the designation, including some evidence of results already achieved at the student level.

Resubmission—Applicants should not submit previously submitted proposals with minor edits (if applicable). Applicants are encouraged to review prior submissions and articulate progress made since last submission.

Questions should be emailed to communitypartnership@luminafoundation.org.

Talent Hubs Self-Assessment
Talent Hubs Map

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