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Tulsa, Okla. Designated as Talent Hub

Lumina Foundation has announced Tulsa as one of 17 communities across the country designated as a Talent Hub. Tulsa, among the other cities, earned this new designation by meeting rigorous standards for creating environments that attract, retain, and cultivate talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college, and from low-income households.

The 17 communities designated as Talent Hubs are: Albuquerque, N.M.; Austin, Texas; Boston; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Denver; Fresno, Calif.; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; New York; Philadelphia; Racine, Wis.; Richmond, Va.; Shasta County, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.

“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.”

Each community designated as a Talent Hub will receive $350,000 in grant funding over 42 months. Grant funding will support local efforts to educate more people, allowing community and post-secondary leaders to better meet the specific needs of residents. Lumina will provide these funds in partnership with the Kresge Foundation.

The Tulsa Talent Hub aims for a five percent increase in post secondary enrollment for adult Hispanic and low-income students. In addition, the Tulsa Talent Hub will work with community partners to drive a 10 percent increase in Hispanic students applying prior learning assessment credits to help pave the way to post-secondary attainment and financial security.

“We’re thrilled that Tulsa was selected by Lumina to be a Talent Hub,” said Dr. Brett Campbell, senior vice president of education and workforce at the Tulsa Regional Chamber, the backbone organization for the Tulsa Talent Hub. “In partnership with Tulsa Community College and Tulsa Tech, the Tulsa Talent Hub will elevate current efforts to increase postsecondary degree attainment within the region’s high-growth economic sectors. By targeting underserved populations, the Tulsa Talent Hub will create more equitable opportunities within our community and cultivate a workforce that better aligns with the needs of our area employers.”

“The Tulsa Talent Hub enhances Tulsa Community College’s efforts to create guided pathways from college to employment,” said Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D., president and CEO of TCC, a postsecondary partner in the Tulsa Talent Hub. “We want to ensure underserved populations get on a degree path leading to a well-paying job with benefits, have opportunity for advancement and are in positions that are less likely to face elimination during economic downturn. This is a citywide initiative to prioritize degree attainment so we can meet the needs of Tulsa-area employers and the demand for jobs that will be created.”

“Tulsa Technology Center is pleased to be a postsecondary partner with the Tulsa Talent Hub,” said Dr. Steve Tiger, superintendent and CEO of Tulsa Tech. “Tulsa Tech is a key partner in Tulsa’s talent development pipeline by providing customized business and industry training as well as long-term workforce development meeting employers’ needs of today and tomorrow. The Tulsa Talent Hub will build greater capacity for our high-growth business sectors and provide support for students to make life-changing progress toward their careers.”

The Talent Hub designation serves both as an aspirational target for other cities to aim for and a platform from which cities designated as Talent Hubs can build. Talent Hubs are one outgrowth of Lumina’s Community Partnerships for Attainment, which was in excess of $10 million of grants to 75 cities across the country. This partnership, which began in 2013, will continue to work directly with communities to expand educational opportunities beyond high school.

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