TCC will play a premier role as a postsecondary partner in a workforce development initiative recently announced by the Lumina Foundation, which designated Tulsa as one of 17 “Talent Hub” communities nationwide.
Each community designated as a Talent Hub will receive $350,000 in grant funding over 42 months to support local efforts to educate more people in specific underserved populations.
Lumina, the nation’s largest foundation dedicated to postsecondary attainment, will provide the funding in partnership with the Kresge Foundation.
The Tulsa Talent Hub aims for a 5 percent increase in postsecondary 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 postsecondary attainment and financial security.
“The Tulsa Talent Hub enhances Tulsa Community College’s efforts to create guided pathways from college to employment,” said TCC President Leigh B. Goodson, Ph.D. "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.”
As Tulsa’s premier educational institution in Tulsa’s workforce development ecosystem, TCC will take a lead role in the Talent Hub initiative, said Pat Green, TCC’s interim VP of workforce development.
“You can’t very well do economic development without workforce development,” Green said. “The Chamber did a report recently, and one of the things it found in our region is that people with associate degrees have the best concentration of full employment among any degree level. We produce people who work at appropriate wages and work fulltime, which is great. So, we’re a very integral part.”
Approximately 10-11 percent of Tulsa’s population is Hispanic, according to the most recent census data, Green said. TCC will reach out to that population through its diversity and inclusion office and through an affiliation with the Tulsa Community WorkAdvance workforce development initiative.
The Talent Hub goal, according to the Lumina Foundation, is to focus 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 before finishing their studies; or adults with no formal education beyond high school.
Other local partners in the Tulsa Talent Hub include the Tulsa Regional Chamber, Tulsa Tech and other organizations including the City of Tulsa.
“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. “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.”
In addition to Tulsa, the 16 other 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.; and Shasta County, Calif.
TCC’s involvement in the Tulsa Talent Hub reflects the College’s commitment to subcomponent 1.D.1 under the Higher Learning Commission’s criteria for accreditation, which notes that the institution’s, “Actions and decisions reflect an understanding that in its educational role the institution serves the public, not solely the institution, and thus entails a public obligation.”
“It’s not just TCC involved, it’s not just the Chamber involved,” Green said. “There are other nonprofits, and the City of Tulsa is involved, as well, because they know that education is what will improve the economy here and diversify it.”