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Region’s Big Goal gets boost

December 5th, 2013

News Coverage:

Region’s Big Goal gets boost

Posted: Thursday, December 5, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 8:28 am, Thu Dec 5, 2013.

FORT WAYNE — The Lumina Foundation said Wednesday that Fort Wayne and the northeast Indiana region will be among the first 20 cities in America to partner with Lumina in an effort to increase the number of local residents with post-secondary credentials.

The foundation said northeast Indiana’s talent development effort, the Big Goal Collaborative, will get significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding and guidance from a network of national thought leaders.

The Big Goal Collaborative was established in 2012 and has been working with Lumina. The Big Goal — one of the priorities identified through the Regional Partnership’s Vision 2020 initiative — aims to increase the percentage of Northeast Indiana residents with high-quality degrees or credentials to 60% by 2025. The goal matches Lumina’s national goal, called Goal 2025 .

“This mobilization effort launched by Lumina Foundation aligns perfectly with the work already underway in our region, and we are honored to be among the first cohort of cities in the U.S. chosen to partner with Lumina,” said Ryan Twiss, director of the Big Goal Collaborative at the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership. “We think this partnership has the potential to be a real game changer for our region’s workforce and economy.”

The Big Goal Collaborative is focused on creating a cradle-to-career talent development system for the region and is made up of educators, community partners, businesses, civic leaders and others passionate about educational attainment.

“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 northeast Indiana and beyond the tools they need to be successful.”

Through the initiative, the Big Goal Collaborative will be eligible for $200,000 from Lumina over a three-year period. The allocation will be tied to the achievement of goals and overall efforts connected to Goal 2025. The guidance offered to the Big Goal Collaborative 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 leaders to identify and build upon what is already working to improve higher education attainment rates in their own backyards.”

“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.