Racine, Kenosha Counties Earn National Recognition with Lumina Talent Hub Designation

Through a rigorous application process, Kenosha and Racine Counties have earned a Talent Hub designation from Lumina Foundation.

Read coverage of this exciting annoucement in the BizTimes.
Read coverage in the Racine Journal Times.

With goal of increasing post-secondary credential attainment rates to sixty percent of adults in our region, UW-Parkside, Gateway Technical College, Higher Expectations for Racine County, and Building our Future Kenosha County are working together to accelerate proven strategies, streamline post-secondary systems, and close equity gaps for students.

Currently, less than half of adults in our region, in Wisconsin, and the country, have post-secondary credentials, and as indicated in our Racine County Labor Force Survey, 55 percent of hard-to-fill jobs will require post-secondary credentials in the next two years. Across the country, institutions are working to make college completion attainable for all students, and as a Lumina Talent Hub, Racine and Kenosha Counties have been elevated as national leaders in this work.

Lumina Foundation designated just 17 communities as Talent Hubs as a result of their work to attract, retain, and cultivate talent. 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. Each community designated as a Talent Hub will receive $350,000 in grant funding that will support local efforts to educate more people, allowing community and post-secondary institutions to better meet the specific needs of residents. Lumina will provide these funds in partnership with the Kresge Foundation.

“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.”

As a Lumina Talent Hub, Higher Expectations for Racine County, Building our Future Kenosha County, UW-Parkside, and Gateway Technical College will work together to further implement and strengthen the strategies that work for our region’s students including; remediation reform and math pathways, stronger community partnerships to support student success and reduce “stop-outs,” the creation of a local college access network, and strong partnerships among our post-secondary 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 for Racine County 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.

“We are thrilled to be designated as a Lumina Talent Hub. We appreciate the acknowledgement of our work to date that this designation signifies, and we welcome the national spotlight and the accountability that will come with it,” said Jeff Neubauer, Executive Director of Higher Expectations for Racine County.