Lumina Foundation has announced Tulsa as one of 17 communities across the country designated as a Talent Hub. Tulsa, among the other cities, earned this new designation by meeting rigorous standards for creating environments that attract, retain, and cultivate talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college, and from low-income households.
Each Talent Hub focuses intensively on one of three populations that is critical to raising the nation’s overall post-high school attainment level to 60 percent of working-age adults by 2025: 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. Talent Hub cities are committed to eliminating deep disparities in educational outcomes among African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, who fare poorly in contrast with white and Asian students.
The 17 communities designated as Talent Hubs are: Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Boston; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Denver; Fresno, Calif.; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; New York; Philadelphia; Racine, Wis.; Richmond, Va.; Shasta County, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.
“These communities are the creative and entrepreneurial engines that power our nation,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. “For our country to meet growing demand for an educated workforce, we must bolster community-based efforts that are tightly focused on increasing the numbers of people in cities across the country with education and training beyond high school.”
Each community designated as a Talent Hub will receive $350,000 in grant funding over 42 months. Grant funding will support local efforts to educate more people, allowing community and postsecondary leaders to better meet the specific needs of residents. Lumina will provide these funds in partnership with the Kresge Foundation.
The Tulsa Talent Hub aims for a five percent increase in postsecondary enrollment for adult Hispanic and low- income students. In addition, the Tulsa Talent Hub will work with community partners to drive a 10 percent increase in Hispanic students applying prior learning assessment credits to help pave the way to postsecondary attainment and financial security.
Kresge’s support for Talent Hubs comes from its national Education Program, which includes a focus on aligning and strengthening urban higher education ecosystems to help more low-income, under-represented and minority students gain access to and succeed in higher education.
“We’re thrilled that Tulsa was selected by Lumina to be a Talent Hub,” said Dr. Brett Campbell, senior vice president of education and workforce at the Tulsa Regional Chamber, the backbone organization for the Tulsa Talent Hub. “In partnership with Tulsa Community College and Tulsa Tech, the Tulsa Talent Hub will elevate current efforts to increase postsecondary degree attainment within the region’s high-growth economic sectors. By targeting underserved populations, the Tulsa Talent Hub will create more equitable opportunities within our community and cultivate a workforce that better aligns with the needs of our area employers.”
“The Tulsa Talent Hub enhances Tulsa Community College’s efforts to create guided pathways from college to employment,” said Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D., president and CEO of TCC, a postsecondary partner in the Tulsa Talent Hub. "We want to ensure underserved populations get on a degree path leading to a well-paying job with benefits, have opportunity for advancement and are in positions that are less likely to face elimination during economic downturn. This is a citywide initiative to prioritize degree attainment so we can meet the needs of Tulsa-area employers and the demand for jobs that will be created.”
"Tulsa Technology Center is pleased to be a postsecondary partner with the Tulsa Talent Hub,” said Dr. Steve Tiger, superintendent and CEO of Tulsa Tech. "Tulsa Tech is a key partner in Tulsa's talent development pipeline by providing customized business and industry training as well as long-term workforce development meeting employers’ needs of today and tomorrow. The Tulsa Talent Hub will build greater capacity for our high-growth business sectors and provide support for students to make life-changing progress toward their careers."
The Talent Hub designation serves both as an aspirational target for other cities to aim for and a platform from which cities designated as Talent Hubs can build. Talent Hubs are one outgrowth of Lumina’s Community Partnerships for Attainment, which was in excess of $10 million of grants to 75 cities across the country. This partnership, which began in 2013, will continue to work directly with communities to expand educational opportunities beyond high school.
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy. For more information, visit www.luminafoundation.org.
The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2016, the Board of Trustees approved 474 grants totaling $141.5 million, and made 14 social investment commitments totaling $50.8 million. For more information, visit www.kresge.org.