Lumina Foundation

RACINE — After a rigorous application process, Kenosha and Racine counties have earned a Talent Hub designation, which includes a $350,000 grant from the Lumina Foundation.

Each community designated as a Talent Hub will receive $350,000 in grant funding supporting local efforts to educate more people and allow community and post-secondary institutions to better meet the specific needs of residents. The funds will be provided by Lumina in partnership with the Kresge Foundation.

Fewer than half of adults in the region, Wisconsin and the country, have post-secondary credentials. As indicated in a Racine County labor force survey, 55 percent of hard-to-fill jobs will require post-secondary credentials in the next two years.

As a Lumina Talent Hub, Racine and Kenosha counties have been elevated as national leaders in this work. Lumina Foundation designated only 17 communities as Talent hubs as a result of their work to attract, retain and cultivate talent.

Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation, stated, “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.”

Getting past hurdles

Across the country, institutions are working to make college completion attainable for all students.

At the post-secondary level, partnerships are committed to working together, utilizing data, evaluating outcomes, aligning resources and addressing inequities to improve the educational and economic well-being of all members of the community.

With the goal of increasing post-secondary credential attainment rates to 60 percent of adults in the region, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, Gateway Technical College, Higher Expectations for Racine County and Building our Future Kenosha County plan to work together to accelerate proven strategies, streamline post-secondary systems and close equity gaps for students. Strategies include:

Remediation reform and math pathways.

Stronger community partnerships to support student success.

Creation of a local college access network.

Strong partnerships among local post-secondary institutions to maximize credit transfers and shorten completion time.

Talent hubs are a product of Lumina’s Community Partnerships for Attainment, which has awarded more than $10 million in grants to 75 cities across the country, including a 2015-16 grant to support work in Racine County.

This initial grant enabled Higher Expectations and its partners to launch pilot programs with a focus on equity and community engagement, including UW-Parkside’s Summer Scholars program and college-focused community conversations with Racine Unified students.

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