Lumina Foundation Designates Albuquerque as a Talent Hub

Nearly $6 million in grants will support local efforts to increase attainment beyond school

Lumina Foundation has announced Albuquerque as one of 17 communities across the country designated as a Talent Hub. Albuquerque among the other 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.

The 17 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.; Shasta County, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.

“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 $350,000 in grant funding over 42 months. Grant funding 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.

Albuquerque’s Talent Hub is being led by Mission: Graduate, an initiative of United Way of Central New Mexico. Mission: Graduate is a cross-sector partnership with a bold goal for college attainment: 60,000 new graduates with college certificates and degrees in central New Mexico by the year 2020. Mission: Graduate developed its Talent Hub proposal in partnership with Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) and New Mexico Workforce Connection Central Region.

Graduate! ABQ is one of Mission: Graduate’s key strategies – launched earlier this summer, it is an initiative focused on helping adults pursue post-high school education. It is a support system designed to help adults get to and through college by helping them explore post-high school educational options, enroll in a program of study at one of our region’s institutions of higher education, figure out how to pay for it, and connect with the people who can help them succeed in their program of study.

“There are over 75,000 adults in central New Mexico who finished high school but never took the next step in their educational journey,” says Angelo Gonzales, Mission: Graduate’s executive director. “Through Graduate! ABQ, we are eager to help them explore their post-high school options. With the continued support of Lumina Foundation, we will be able to serve more people and expand our partnerships in central New Mexico.”

“We’re thrilled that our collective focus on helping more students persevere and graduate is being recognized and supported,” says Katharine Winograd, President of Central New Mexico Community College. “We’re striving to significantly increase the number of college graduates in New Mexico, which is critically important for improving our workforce, our economy, and our quality of life. This partnership helps us continue to improve individual lives and the greater good.”

“We’re pleased to join forces on this service that helps adult individuals take the first steps toward getting into college.” says Jerilynn Sans, Workforce Administrator, Workforce Connection of Central NM.  “Additionally, I believe that the efforts of this partnership will lead to more successful outcomes – and by that I mean careers and jobs for many here in central New Mexico.”

Any individual who would like to learn more about how to pursue their post-high school education can visit, and one of our coaches will get back to them within 24 hours.

Kresge’s support for Talent Hubs comes from its national Education Program, which includes a focus on aligning and strengthening urban higher education ecosystems to help more low-income, under-represented and minority students gain access to and succeed in higher education.

The Talent Hub designation serves both as an aspirational target for other cities to aim for and a platform from which cities designated as Talent Hubs can build. Talent Hubs are one outgrowth of Lumina’s Community Partnerships for Attainment, which was in access of $10 million of grants to 75 cities across the country. This partnership, which began in 2013, will continue to work directly with communities to expand educational opportunities beyond high school.

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Mission: Graduate is a cradle-to-career partnership consisting of educators, local employers, educational support providers, government leaders and citizens who are committed to a goal of 60,000 new graduates with college degrees and certificates in central New Mexico by the year 2020. Mission: Graduate is an initiative of the United Way of Central New Mexico. #60Kby2020

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis that is committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. Lumina envisions a system that is easy to navigate, delivers fair results, and meets the nation’s need for talent through a broad range of credentials. The Foundation’s goal is to prepare people for informed citizenship and for success in a global economy. For more information, visit

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.5 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development in Detroit. In 2016, the Board of Trustees approved 474 grants totaling $141.5 million, and made 14 social investment commitments totaling $50.8 million. For more information, visit

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