NLC to Assist Cities in Promoting Postsecondary Success

January 27, 2014

By Tim Mudd

Twenty cities were recently selected by Lumina Foundation as the first partners in an initiative to dramatically increase the number of local residents with postsecondary credentials. As part of this collaborative effort, NLC is proud to be one of a network of thought leaders chosen by the foundation to connect participating cities with significant technical and planning assistance, data tools and flexible funding.

The selected cities are the first of 75 that will participate in the initiative. The first cohort includes: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston, Texas; 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.

“We are pleased to partner with Lumina Foundation to raise educational attainment in communities across the country,” said Clifford M. Johnson, executive director, NLC Institute for Youth, Education and Families (YEF Institute).  “Mayors and other city leaders know that by collaborating across sectors to boost college completion rates, they are helping to boost the economic development of the city, and the quality of life and well-being of their neighborhoods and families.”

The YEF Institute, along with the foundation and other national partners, will work with the first cohort of communities through 2016 to establish goals and an action plan to facilitate attainment.  Progress toward the goals will be measured by credentials earned after high school by local residents, including certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees held. 

“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO 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 civic leaders the tools they need to be successful.”

Lumina plans to invest approximately $4 million into 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 Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025.

Increasing Postsecondary Completion Rates

In recent years, mayors and other municipal leaders have become increasingly attuned to the relationship between their economic development activities and the educational attainment rates of their local workforce.  A growing number of cities have launched multi-sector collaborations to increase the proportion of residents who obtain postsecondary degrees and credentials.

Since 2010, Lumina has supported efforts by NLC to stimulate and support local collaborations to increase the rate and shorten the time within which residents finish higher education with a degree, certificate or other credential.  NLC is proud to continue this partnership in order to strengthen cities’ capacity to achieve significantly improved postsecondary completion results in collaboration with school districts, colleges, universities and other key local partners.

Details: For more information and resources on promoting postsecondary success visit NLC’s postsecondary success resources page or contact Marjorie Cohen at cohen@nlc.org or 202-626-3052.