Fresno, California – Lumina Foundation has announced the Fresno Compact in partnership with the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) as one of 17 communities across the country designated as a Talent Hub. Fresno, 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.
Through the designation of the Fresno Talent Hub, current efforts already underway will serve as a model for the Central Valley and California. Efforts utilizing remediation reform with co-requisite models for both English and math will increase in college-level course completion. Further, full-time enrollments through a 15 to Finish strategy will increase retention and persistence rates. Overall, through these efforts and other related efforts Fresno County’s degree attainment rates will be dramatically impacted specifically among Hispanic, African American and low-income populations.
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.
“The Fresno Compact and the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium have become effective and valuable partners in providing a pathway for college success and degree attainment for students in the region,” said Dr. Benjamin T. Duran, Executive Director of the Central Valley Higher Education Consortium. “The Talent Hub designation by Lumina Foundation is a testament to the good work this community is doing to improve the well-being of its residents.”
Marc Johnson, Executive Director of the Fresno Compact adds, “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 in 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 grant making 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.
Fresno Compact is a 501c3 non-profit that focuses community-wide efforts on preparing students for the increasing demands of society and the workplace. In doing so, it provides a mechanism for mobilizing business and community support of local K-12 and higher education institutions, and it acts as a connector for sharing of information among education, business, and community leaders. The Compact’s efforts are specifically focused on high school and post-secondary attainment. Fresno Compact’s board is composed of 35 members, with a majority of board members from the business community.
Central Valley Higher Education Consortium (CVHEC) is a 501(c)3 incorporated non-profit organization comprised of accredited public and private colleges, universities, and community college district members. CVHEC was founded in 2000 by then Fresno State President John D. Welty along with 18 college and university leaders. Today, it is a 25-member strong consortium. Jointly, the consortium serves over 250,000 students in the California Central Valley, a nine-county region. Its focus is to increase the region’s higher education attainment rate.
Benjamin Duran, Executive Director
Central Valley Higher Education Consortium
(559) 292-0576 or mobile at (209) 761-0534