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Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership
Image from the partnership's website

Northeast Indiana’s Big Goal picked for pilot program

Statement as distributed Wednesday by the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership:

FORT WAYNE, Ind. - Today Lumina Foundation announced that Fort Wayne, Ind. and the Northeast Indiana region will be among the first 20 cities in America to partner with Lumina Foundation in a mobilization effort designed to increase the number of local residents with post-secondary credentials. As a result, Northeast Indiana’s talent development efforts, known as the Big Goal Collaborative, will have access to 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 already been working with Lumina on its efforts within Northeast Indiana. 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 partnership with Lumina will amplify existing momentum with the Big Goal Collaborative, which 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 an allocation of $200,000 from Lumina over a three-year period. The allocation will be tied to the achievement of goals and the 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-leader to identify and build upon what is already working to improve higher education attainment rates in their own backyards.”

Project leaders from the Big Goal Collaborative and the other 19 partners have already begun to participate in webinars with the national partners to prepare them for the upcoming months of strategic planning. Community representatives and project leaders are currently in Indianapolis for a two-day kick-off convening and workshop being led by Lumina.

“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.

The national thought-leadership organizations that Big Goal Collaborative officials will have access to through this initiative include: American Chamber of Commerce Executives, 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 League of Cities, OMG Center, Say Yes to Education Foundation, Strive Together, Talent Dividend and United Way Worldwide.

The other cities joining Northeast Indiana in the first cohort of this initiative include: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; 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, Wash., and Syracuse, N.Y..

For more information about the Big Goal Collaborative, visit the Vision 2020 website.

A short, animated video has also been created by Lumina to explain the objectives of the Big Goal (Goal 2025).

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, log on to: www.luminafoundation.org

About the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership:

The Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership was formed in 2006 to help build a globally competitive economy in Northeast Indiana. It is a public-private partnership focused on generating business leads and building regional capacity through product development and effective regional collaboration. The Northeast Indiana Fund (Fund) was created in 2005 to operate as a supporting organization of the Northeast Indiana Regional Partnership, focused specifically on product development and regional collaboration. In 2010, the Partnership launched Vision 2020 to bring the region together around five key areas for economic growth: 21st Century Talent, Competitive Business Climate, Entrepreneurship, Infrastructure and Quality of Life. Through its combined efforts in business development and capacity building, the Partnership supports its 10 member counties: Adams, Allen, DeKalb, Huntington, LaGrange, Noble, Steuben, Wabash, Wells and Whitley counties. For more information, visit www.NEIndiana.com.

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