Philly Named One of 17 National “Talent Hubs”

As part of the new designation, one local organization will receive $350,000 in grants to boost its talent cultivation efforts.

Photo by J. Fusco for Visit Philadelphia™

Philadelphia just earned another accolade that speaks to the steady rise of its entrepreneur community.

The city has been designated a national “talent hub” — one of just 17 “creative and entrepreneurial engines” across the country that “power our nation.”

The honor comes from the independent Indianapolis-based Lumina Foundation, which identified the communities after evaluating cities on rigorous standards for crafting environments that attract, retain, and cultivate talent, particularly among students of color, students from low-income households and those who are the first in their families to go to college.

Philadelphia will receive $350,000 in grant funding over 42 months to support local efforts to educate more people, giving community and postsecondary leaders a chance to better meet the specific needs of residents. 

“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.”

Philadelphia’s funding will go to Graduate! Philadelphia — a program of Graduate! Network, Inc., which supports “comebackers,” adults who have some college credit who want to go back to complete their degree. Funding will then be divided between the organization’s four higher education partners Chestnut Hill College, Community College of Philadelphia, Temple University and Thomas Edison State University.

Graduate! Philadelphia says it will work with the institutions to build on existing adult college completion programming for low-income adults with some credit and no degree, with a specific focus on African Americans and veterans.

“The Philadelphia Talent Hub is honored to be recognized for our tireless work to support degree completion for the 80,000 Philadelphians and the 316,000 adults in the region who have some college credit and no degree,” said Barbara Mattleman, executive director of Graduate! Philadelphia. “As a collaborative, we will work together to scale efforts to support Comebackers who are returning to college to complete their degree and seek opportunities to both align our work and create systems-change at each institution to address degree attainment.”

Philadelphia was named alongside other cities like Austin, Boston, Dayton, Denver and Fresno. Lumina says the designation serves both as an inspirational target for other cities to aim for and a platform from which designated cities can build.

“The grassroots work that community, business, and education leaders are undertaking in these Talent Hubs will help decrease education barriers, enabling more underserved students to earn college degrees, workforce certificates, industry certifications or other high-quality credentials,” said Danette Howard, Lumina’s senior vice president and chief strategy officer.

“These types of programs are vital for the nation to meet the current and future needs of our ever-evolving economy.”

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