North State Together is thrilled to announce its designation as one of 17 communities across the country as a Talent Hub by the Lumina Foundation: . These 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.

Each Talent Hub focuses intensively on one of three populations that is critical to raising the nation’s overall post-high school attainment level to 60 percent of working-age adults by 2025: 18-to-22-year-old students; older adults with college experience who stopped out before finishing their studies; or adults with no formal education beyond high school. Talent Hub cities are committed to eliminating deep disparities in educational outcomes among African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, who fare poorly in contrast with white and Asian students.

“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 grant funding, which will support local efforts to educate more people, allowing community and postsecondary leaders to better meet the specific needs of residents. Lumina will provide these funds in partnership with the Kresge Foundation.

Northern California has linked together through North State Together (NST) to enhance educational options and economic development for all populations in the region. Building off best practices including ACE, BOLD, STEP UP and the Siskiyou County Adult Ed Diploma, NST will celebrate adults wishing to obtain degrees, credentials or skill-building opportunities for continual growth. All programs identified share common attributes including structured schedules, guided pathways, case management, cohort support, and worksite learning. The expansion of prior learning assessments and competency-based learning options will honor adults for what they know and are able to do and ease barriers to the attainment of high-quality certificates and degrees. The region recognizes that the high rate of adults with some college and no degree is a direct reflection on the current systems, and not reflective of the skills and abilities of residents in the north state. Working as a collective impact group, NST’s intention is that the switch in the culture surrounding education and learning will re-engage adults that had left formal systems. For those adults that are renewed by innovative educational programming and would like to continue along educational pathways, options for BA’s and advanced degrees will also be developed. This program will build off successful partnerships with local business/industry partners, Tribal Communities and WIOA partners to support adults with career exploration through a regional career portal and a high-quality virtual job shadowing program that will continue to raise awareness of viable careers in the north state.