The American Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE) has joined a promising initiative led by Lumina Foundation to increase postsecondary education attainment. The initiative involves 20 U.S. communities and connects them with significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding, and access to a powerful network of national thought-leadership organizations, including ACCE, that will provide guidance as they develop goals and action plans.
"Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school," said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation. "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 civic leaders the tools they need to be successful."
The program aims to mobilize communities to improve postsecondary education attainment. Communities will partner with Lumina Foundation and national thought leaders through 2016 to establish attainment goals and to develop action plans to increase the percentage of high-quality credentials held by community residents. Progress toward the goal will be measured by credentials earned after high school, including certificates, associate's degrees, and bachelor's degrees held by local residents. The cities selected have already demonstrated momentum in advancing attainment agendas. This effort aims to expand and deepen their work.
“We are excited to work with Lumina Foundation on regional strategies to engage businesses in education attainment,” said Mick Fleming, president of ACCE. “This partnership helps us support our chamber members playing key roles in their communities to link economic development goals with post-secondary education.”
Along with ACCE, communities will have access to: 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 College Access Network; National League of Cities; OMG Center; Say Yes to Education Foundation; Strive Together; Talent Dividend; and United Way Worldwide.
The first cohort of communities includes: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston; 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/South King County, Wash.; and Syracuse, N.Y.
Lumina Foundation plans to invest approximately $4 million in the first cohort. Each community will be eligible for an allocation of $200,000 over a three-year period, which will be tied to achievement of goals. The overall effort connects to Lumina Foundation's Goal 2025, a national effort to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information about ACCE’s Education Attainment Division visit: http://www.acce.org/divisions/education-attainment-division/
About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, visit www.LuminaFoundation.org