Chancellor Charles R. Bantz
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Greetings from IUPUI

February 2011

CEOs for Cities has launched a Talent Dividend Competition with a $1 million prize to the city with the greatest college degree increase by 2014.

The competition is part of CEOs for Cities' effort to improve the nation's cities by challenging them to increase their college attainment rate by at least one percentage point. They call this the "Talent Dividend," because research shows that 58 percent of a city's success, as measured by per capita income, is explained by the percentage of college graduates in its population. For greater Indianapolis, the Talent Dividend would mean an additional $1.3 billion in revenue generated by higher personal income. To achieve the 1 percent Talent Dividend, we need some 11,000 more people to earn baccalaureates.

Could Indianapolis win?

In my August 2009 "Greetings from IUPUI," I described a meeting of interested community leaders who came together some 18 months ago to explore the possibilities of achieving the Talent Dividend for central Indiana. Since that time, we have laid the foundation for that effort by forming Central Indiana's Talent Alliance.

I serve as convener of Central Indiana's Talent Alliance, but it is a partnership that truly belongs to the community.

This community-wide coalition is committed not only to achieving the Talent Dividend for greater Indianapolis but to a broad array of long-term improvements in the cradle-to-career educational pipeline. The Talent Alliance consists of representatives of preschool through 12th grade schools, universities, community organizations, and funding agencies whose purpose is to "connect the dots."

We emphasize coordinated cross-sector collaboration to prepare every student to enter school ready to learn. We want every child in our community to experience support in and outside school, earn a high school diploma, complete some form of postsecondary education, and become a productive citizen.

This new partnership will not duplicate or displace the work of other community organizations. Instead, it will act as a catalyst for collaboration.

The Talent Alliance intends to accomplish the following objectives:

  • build and align resources to improve student and community outcomes
  • attain and use data to implement evidence-based practices, inform decision making, and evaluate progress
  • leverage support from funders, policymakers, and the community to support effective initiatives

What have we done so far? We just published our first annual Central Indiana Talent Alliance report to communicate our activities to the public.

The report is online at

Having identified performance indicators at each point on the developmental continuum—the "Student Roadmap to Success"—the report establishes our baseline data and what we want to achieve. Measurable goals will be set by the next report.

In 2009, we received a grant from the Living Cities Foundation to support the work of the Talent Alliance. This funding enabled us to learn from a similar initiative, Strive, in Cincinnati, and share experiences with a national coalition of urban-serving universities with cradle-to-career initiatives.

The Talent Alliance is committed to evidence-based decision making. We bring university faculty and staff involved in education-related research together with representatives of schools and community organizations engaged in education.

We formed working groups to explore issues and propose solutions. These are organized around various points on the education pipeline (e.g., preschool, early grades, high school, college) and are based on strengthening working relationships among agencies and organizations already engaged in improving the education pipeline.

New teams of community partners are collaborating on action steps. The implementation of best practices and effective solutions is already taking shape in such areas as early childhood education, elementary school mathematics and literacy, after-school programming, high school dropout reduction, and college access/success.

The Talent Dividend Prize is supported by the Kresge Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education. A launch event for cities registered in the competition will be May 10 in Chicago with winner to be announced September 2014.

Chancellor Charles R. Bantz

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