Lumina’s ‘Talent Hubs’ focus on collaboration

The Community College of Denver is among the community colleges in 17 U.S. cities that are partners in Lumina's new Talent Hubs program. (Photo: CCD)

Lumina Foundation is investing nearly $6 million in a new effort to better leverage community collaboration in preparing high school students to go to college and earn a credential — with community colleges playing an important role.

The foundation will disperse grants to 17 cities across the U.S. designated as “Talent Hubs” to help them foster and retain talent in their communities, especially among low-income and minority families. Each hub will receive a grant of $350,000 over three years with funding from Lumina and the Kresge Foundation.

Community colleges are among the postsecondary partners in all the hubs.

“The grassroots work that community, business and education leaders are undertaking in these Talent Hubs will help decrease education barriers, enabling more underserved students to earn college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifications or other high-quality credentials,” Danette Howard, Lumina’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer, said in a press release.

The hubs and the community college partners are:

Albuquerque, New Mexico: Central New Mexico Community College
Austin, Texas: Austin Community College
Boston: Bunker Hill Community College
Cincinnati: Gateway Community and Technical College (Kentucky) and Cincinnati State Technical and Community College
Columbus and Southeast Indiana: Ivy Tech Community College
Dayton, Ohio: Sinclair Community College
Denver: Community College of Denver
Fresno, California: Clovis Community College, Fresno City College, Reedley College, West Hills Community College-Coalinga and West Hills Community College-Lemoore
Los Angeles (San Fernando Valley): Los Angeles Community College District
Louisville, Kentucky: Jefferson Community and Technical College
Nashville, Tennessee:  Nashville State Community College
New York City: City University of New York (which will include all 24 institutions in the CUNY system, including the community colleges)
Philadelphia: Community College of Philadelphia
Racine, Wisconsin: Gateway Technical College
Richmond, Virginia: John Tyler Community College and J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College
Shasta County, California: Shasta College
Tulsa, Oklahoma: Tulsa Community College

Focused efforts

Each hub will focus on one of three populations: 18-to-22-year-old students; older adults with college experience who stopped out before finishing their studies; or adults with no formal education beyond high school. The foundation noted that each of those groups is critical to Lumina’s goal of raising the nation’s overall post-high school attainment level to 60 percent of working-age adults by 2025.

The Talent Hubs program is designed to pull together practices in the community that work and to use collaboration to build on them to help students not only go to college but to earn a credential, said Lumina Strategy Director Haley Glover.

“We have to be about attainment. We can’t just be just about working with young students. We can’t be just about getting students ready for college,” she said. “We have to get them to college, we have to get them through college and we have to get them out of college.”

Students in an electricity program at John Tyler Community College in Virginia. (Photo: JTCC)

Each of the cities plans to use different strategies to reach their target population. For example, in Richmond, Virginia, the partners will aim to find students who were several credits shy of earning a credential but dropped out, said William Fiege, vice president of learning and student success at John Tyler Community College. The team will use various databases to try to find such students who were enrolled at JTCC, Reynolds Community College and Virginia Commonwealth University and to help them complete their credential, he said. Part of that work will include learning why they left — they found a good-paying job, started a family or ran out of student aid.

In Albuquerque, the partners will work to guide adult students to enroll and succeed in college, and to better align workforce training systems with adult students’ education needs. Central New Mexico Community College will focus on helping adults transition to college. It will provide advisors who will help adult students address typical barriers to their success, such as lack of information on college-going processes and helping to ease apprehension about enrolling.

Gateway Community and Technical College, which serves the Kentucky portion of the greater Cincinnati area, and its partners will focus on helping single mothers and their children. The partners will serve to remove barriers for single mothers so they can pursue a credential and career, and through the program show the value of education to their children, especially in math and science.

Nashville aims to leverage myriad efforts, including the state’s new tuition-free community college for qualifying adults, which begins in fall 2018. Nashville State Community College will help develop a student-centered, completion-oriented culture for adults, while employers will provide student internships, learn-and-earn opportunities and jobs for those who complete a credential.

Below, Lumina’s Haley Glover discusses the criteria required to elevate community partnership work through new “Talent Hubs.”

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