Elkhart County is one of seven communities throughout the country named by Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation as talent hubs. The designation is given to communities that meet "rigorous standards" for creating environments that attract, retain and cultivate talent.
Each community that receives the designation will be awarded $275,000 over 31 months to support efforts to educate more people, which will allow community and education leaders to "better meet the specific needs of residents," according to the foundation. The funding is being provided in partnership with Michigan-based The Kresge Foundation.
The other six talent hubs announced by Lumina Foundation include:
- Corpus Christi, Texas
- Detroit, Michigan
- Las Vegas, Nevada
- Mobile, Alabama
- Rio Grande Valley, Texas
- St. Louis, Missouri
Lumina Foundation says the talent hub communities are committed to eliminating the disparities in educational outcomes among African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians. Brian Wiebe, executive director of Horizon Education Alliance in Elkhart County, tells the Elkhart Truth they will use the funding to support a redesign of the county’s adult career pathways system.
"This has the potential to lead to career advancement and increased earnings," Wiebe told the publication. "This is aligned to the plan we’ve been developing for the past several years, and employers like Benteler Automotive, Lippert Components, NIBCO, GDC, Robert Weed Corp. and Kem Krest have been very engaged as business partners. Ultimately, this is going to lead to increased opportunities for our individuals and a stronger workforce."
The seven new talent hubs join 17 others designated last year, including Columbus, Indiana.