|WCSI Local News|
Columbus will be one of 20 cities across the country to partner with the Lumina Foundation in a mobilization effort designed to increase the number of local residents with postsecondary credentials. That announcement was made Tuesday during a phone conference with officials from Lumina in Indianapolis.
Officials say this collaborative effort will establish a community-wide attainment goal and support for Columbus and Southeast Indiana partners in achieving that goal. Partners will have access to significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding and guidance from a network of national thought leaders.
"This is a momentous education announcement for Columbus and Southeast Indiana," said John Burnett, Chief Executive Officer of the CEC of Columbus, Indiana. "Our education partners work very hard to deliver high quality post secondary education programs to residents of Southeast Indiana that are directly linked to long-term economic growth of the region. On behalf of all our stakeholders, we thank Lumina Foundation for choosing our community and region to be a part of this vitally important work focused on significantly increasing post secondary education attainment in our region and throughout the nation."
Columbus and Southeast Indiana were selected to join in this mobilization effort because of the partnership among Indiana University Purdue University Columbus, Ivy Tech Community College, and Purdue College of Technology supported by the CEC and the Southeast Indiana EcO15 initiative to improve postsecondary education attainment rates. Through this effort, Columbus and Southeast Indiana will amplify existing momentum by partnering with Lumina – as well as other national groups – to develop an action plan to increase the percentage of local residents with high quality certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees.
The major initiative of Columbus and Southeast Indiana’s education, business, community foundations and broader community partnerships to increase secondary to postsecondary education attainment has been EcO15. EcO15 seeks to create a regional system of life-long learning by connecting the residents of ten counties within rural Southeast Indiana to better economic opportunities through education. EcO15 supports regional education programs that allow each person to move up at least one level from an education or career standpoint focusing on the region’s strong economic clusters: advanced manufacturing, healthcare and tourism. For the past six years, EcO15 has focused on putting in place the infrastructure that has dramatically expanded middle school through grade 16 Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education program enrollments related to advanced manufacturing and healthcare. Additionally, access to high-quality postsecondary certifications and degree programs have been significantly enhanced by investments from the EcO15 initiative.
"Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school," said Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina. "Increased attainment delivers stronger local economies, greater individual earning power and better quality of life. Every community in America wants that, and we’ve designed this work to give leaders in Columbus and Southeast Indiana the tools they need to be successful."
Through the initiative, Columbus and Southeast Indiana will be eligible for an allocation of $200,000 from Lumina over a three-year period. The allocation will be tied to the achievement of goals and the overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. The guidance offered to Columbus and Southeast Indiana by national partners will be the most crucial part of the movement.
"This partnership model is a landmark opportunity for communities," said Jeff Edmondson, managing Director of Strive Together in Cincinnati. "These cities will have the opportunity to work arm-in-arm with a national thought-leader to identify and build upon what is already working to improve higher education attainment rates in their own backyards."
Project leaders from Columbus and Southeast Indiana and the other 19 cities have already begun to participate in webinars with the national partners to prepare them for the upcoming months of strategic planning. Community representatives and project leaders are currently in Indianapolis for a two-day kick-off convening and workshop being led by Lumina.
"It is our hope that Lumina’s support can fan the flames that are already burning in our partnership cities, improving results there and showing cities across the country how this gets done and just how transformational education can be for communities’ social, economic and civic strength," said Haley Glover, strategy director at Lumina Foundation heading up this work.
The national thought-leadership organizations that Columbus and Southeast Indiana officials will have access to through this initiative include: American Chamber of Commerce Executives, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, Brookings Institution, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, DCA, Inc., Excelencia in Education, The Harwood Institute, Institute for Higher Education Policy, National League of Cities, OMG Center, Say Yes to Education Foundation, Strive Together, Talent Dividend and United Way Worldwide.
The other cities joining Columbus and Southeast Indiana in the first cohort of this initiative include: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.; San Antonio, Texas; Santa Ana, Calif.; South Seattle, Wash., and Syracuse, N.Y.
Last Updated: Wednesday, December 04, 2013 10:49:50 AM
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