Corporate Voices Receives Timely Grant from Lumina Foundation

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With Lumina Foundation's support, Corporate Voices for Working Families will engage influential U.S. employers around a national effort to boost college-level success for working Americans.

We thank the Foundation for its generous investment in our work, and we welcome the opportunity to advance the critical college completion goals our members share with Lumina.

Corporate Voices for Working Families has been awarded a generous grant from Lumina Foundation to engage the nation’s leading employers as champions for postsecondary success. By actively promoting higher education for their employees, top companies can help increase the number of Americans who continue their studies and successfully earn a postsecondary degree.

The $260,000 grant will be used to explore a range of innovative ways employers can support higher education for their employees who must juggle the competing demands of work and schooling in today’s challenging economy. Our efforts will leverage the latest thinking around “transfer pathways”—ways of translating applied knowledge and skills learned in nonacademic settings, like on the job, into solid academic credits so that employees can more quickly complete their degrees. Similarly, we will focus on the large population of “near-complete” employees—those who began their postsecondary studies but never finished their schooling. By some estimates, this group comprises 22 percent of working-age adults.

“Our nation will need 23 million more postsecondary degrees than we’re on track to produce by 2025,” said Dr. James Applegate, Vice President for Program Development at Lumina. “We’re pleased to support Corporate Voices’ efforts to enlist American employers as key allies, as we must tackle this national challenge together.”

“Lumina has been an invaluable thought partner in our efforts to bring American employers into this important conversation,” added John Wilcox, Corporate Voices’ Executive Director. “We thank the Foundation for its generous investment in our work, and we welcome the opportunity to advance the critical college completion goals our members share with Lumina.”

With Lumina’s support, Corporate Voices will conduct original research on employer-led models that help workers reach their educational goals while meeting employers’ pressing need for a highly skilled workforce. The research will be complemented by public polling to determine what employees themselves think about their companies’ incentives for college completion. Our work will result in a series of case studies detailing effective programs, and other tools that will be promoted to the broader business community.

The newly funded project aims to address an urgent national imperative, and the overarching goal of Lumina Foundation’s work: To boost college success and postsecondary completion rates across America. If current rates hold, barely 47 percent of adults will have earned an associate degree or higher by 2025. Today’s student pipeline is simply inadequate to fill the gap. To meet demand, we must also focus on upgrading the skills and education of millions of individuals already in the workforce.

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About Corporate Voices for Working Families
Corporate Voices for Working Families is the leading national business membership organization shaping conversations and collaborations on public and corporate policy issues involving working families. A nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, Corporate Voices creates and advances innovative policy solutions that reflect a commonality of interests among the private sector, government and other stakeholders. Corporate Voices is a unique voice that provides leading and best-practice employers a forum to improve the lives of working families, while strengthening our nation’s economy and enhancing the vitality of our communities. Publications, research studies and toolkits on a host of workforce readiness, workplace flexibility, family economic stability and work and family balance issues are available online at http://www.corporatevoices.org.

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation, an Indianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change. For more information, please see http://www.luminafoundation.org.

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