FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Press Release): Northeast Indiana has been designated a Talent Hub by Lumina Foundation, in partnership with The Kresge Foundation, and will receive a $125,000 grant to support local efforts to increase educational attainment.
Northeast Indiana’s 11 counties, along with 22 other national Talent Hubs selected in 2017 and 2018, meet rigorous standards for creating environments that cultivate, attract and retain talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are adults, Black, Hispanic, or Native American, students from low-income households, or the first in their families to go to college.
Ryan Twiss, vice president of talent initiatives for the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, said increasing educational attainment in Northeast Indiana is critical to the region’s economic growth.
As part of the region’s economic development work, the Regional Partnership works collaboratively in an effort to meet three specific goals by 2030: increasing per capita personal income to 90% against the national average, growing the region’s population to 1 million residents and increasing postsecondary attainment to 60%.
“At the Regional Partnership, we exist to increase the prosperity of residents in Northeast Indiana. We know that increasing educational attainment has the potential to increase wages, raise overall economic wealth and meet the needs of current and future employers,” said Twiss. “The Talent Hub designation and grant is another example of how Northeast Indiana continues to work together to enhance the region’s talent development efforts to reach our 2030 goals.”
The Talent Hub designation was earned through collaboration with the Northeast Indiana Colleges and Universities Network. The Network’s leadership group is comprised of all of the chief campus officers in the region’s higher education institutions and convenes regularly to support business attraction and expansion needs, to develop innovative trainings for employers and incumbent workers, to connect interns and recent grads to local employers and now to create a cross-organization strategy to reengage minority adults.
Dr. Jerrilee Mosier, chancellor of Ivy Tech Community College Fort Wayne, said that through the support of Lumina Foundation, the Network will be better equipped to target adults with some postsecondary experience but no credential.
“We are focused on re-engaging adults who have acquired some postsecondary learning and credit, but who have not earned a credential. We see this group of adults as the tipping point as they represent 21 percent of the region’s adult workforce,” said Mosier. “Because of this designation, we can further support these individuals as they get over the finish line and into their next career.”
Dr. William Katip, president of Grace College & Seminary in Winona Lake, Ind., said the Talent Hub designation will serve two important purposes: implementing and instituting debt forgiveness programs and creating a cross-institutional program that will allow for information and data sharing.
“By leveraging the Northeast Indiana Colleges and Universities Network, we are taking a regional approach to supporting our students through innovative and collaborative programs that will advance our educational attainment goals,” Katip said. “The debt forgiveness program and information sharing will allow us to align our efforts and propel us toward our region’s education and economic goals.”
Talent Hubs are part of Lumina’s $13 million community mobilization strategy, which focuses on local and regional efforts to increase attainment in ways that can inform other communities.
“Each of these areas truly understands what it takes to pull together around shared goals,” said Danette Howard, Lumina’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer. “We applaud the businesses, educators, and civic organizations working to create more ways for people to earn college degrees and certificates, industry certifications, and other quality credentials after high school.”