Place Matters.

“When you allow your instincts, passion, and thinking ability to guide you, the world tends to become a place where you make your own rules and do things as per your wishes.”

― Dr. Prem Jagyasi, successful entrepreneur and experienced strategic professional

Talent Hubs are a placed-based strategy designed to “attract and retain talent, including nontraditional college students and people of color while seeking to boost post-high-school learning” (Lumina Foundation, October 2, 2017).  

Passion and thinking mattered on October 29 and 30 as The Lumina Foundation’s traditional student Talent Hub community of practice, The Learning Lab, gathered in the place called Detroit, Michigan.  Community leaders from nine Talent Hubs converged in the Motor City to rewrite the rules and dream about a different future for their own communities.  Detroit has been designated as one of the 24 Talent Hubs in the United States.

Detroit has long been a sense of place, purpose and passion.  Founded in 1701, Detroit is rich in history as French explorers initially settled there.  Learning Lab participants were introduced to Detroit’s history and culture by attending events at the Charles H. Wright African American Museum and Cliff Bell’s.

Attendees toured museum exhibits, including the very real and moving “And Still We Rise: Our Journey through African American History and Culture” exhibit featuring more than 20 galleries.  This exhibit reminded us of our roots and barriers that African Americans have had to overcome.

Cliff Bell’s, a downtown jazz club, was the site of one of the dinners.  Named after John Clifford Bell, Cliff Bell’s was born out of a fight against prohibition.  Today, the site provides dining and entertainment in the heart of the city.  Learning Lab participants also got a “taste” of Detroit through some Faygo Pop Root Beer Floats!

Both settings were reminders of the richness of place, the past and the potential for the future.  The event kicked off with a tribute to the Native American population of Michigan, especially since the site of the event was on original Native American territory. 

This Talent Hub event focused on remediation reform.  Attendees benefited from expertise from Complete College America, Strong Start to Finish, University System of Georgia, and the Michigan Department of Civil Rights.  Prompted by these notable organizations, event participants had rich discussions about how to address remediation to improve postsecondary attainment.  Each Talent Hub presented on their past successes, current challenges and future aspirations.

Lumina Foundation, in partnership with the Kresge Foundation, bestows the Talent Hub designation, which is “part of a larger effort to ensure 60 percent of working-age adults have college degrees, workforce certificates, or other high-quality credentials by 2025” (Lumina Foundation, October 12, 2017).  Representing Lumina at this event was Dakota Pawlicki, who shared his expertise on community mobilization.

During this event, attendees had the opportunity to meet Caroline Altman-Smith of The Kresge Foundation, which funds Talent Hubs in partnership with Lumina Foundation. The Kresge Foundation, which was founded and is based in metropolitan Detroit, has an overall mission to expand opportunities for low-income people in America’s cities. Kresge’s education-specific grantmaking is focused on helping more low-income students and students of color get into and through college.

The Michigan College Access Network was pleased to showcase Detroit and integrate the setting into the work of the Talent Hubs, which serve as places that matter for significantly accelerating community and regional attainment efforts. 

Convening in Detroit, these Talent Hub community leaders shared their strategies, learned from each other and left inspired to change the places where they live, work and play.  Place matters.  And they are working to make sure that those places evolve and matter even more in the future.

Author: Christopher Tremblay, MCAN director of external engagement
Posted: April 2, 2019

 

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