The Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation has detailed a national program that designates 17 communities as Talent Hubs. The education-focused nonprofit will provide nearly $6 million in grants to help the communities attract, retain and cultivate student talent in populations it says are critical to boosting the country’s higher education attainment level. These include 18-to-22-year-old students, older adults with unfinished degrees or certifications and adults with just a high school education. Lumina has a stated goal of increasing college attainment to 60 percent by 2025. Columbus is the only Indiana community selected to participate.
Chief Executive Officer Jamie Merisotis says employers play a key role in the communities. He calls the Talent Hubs "the creative and entrepreneurial engines that power our nation." The communities, Lumina Foundation says, were chosen for creating environments to attract, retain and develop talent, many of whom are people of color, first-in-family college attendees or come from low-income households. The organization adds these hubs have demonstrated a commitment to eliminating disparities in educational outcomes in populations that traditionally fare worse in educational outcomes, compared to white or Asian students.
The Talent Hubs are:
- Austin, Texas
- Columbus, Indiana
- Los Angeles
- Nashville, Tennessee
- New York
- Richmond, Virginia
- Shasta County, California
Columbus’s efforts are regional in nature and involve 10 counties. Its efforts are being led by the EcO Network of Southeast Indiana in partnership with Ivy Tech Community College and adult education providers in the region designed to expand and connect programs supporting attainment for adults with no college.
Merisotis calls the 17 Talent Hubs "a starting point" and says additional hubs are expected to be created in the future.
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Lumina Foundation Chief Executive Officer Jamie Merisotis says employers play a key role for the hubs.