21st Century Talent Regions Initiative Provides Opportunity to Share, Learn, and Act
By Thomas Kinghorn, President of George and Frances Ball Foundation
No single organization or community has all the answers to the challenges communities face. That’s why I believe taking the opportunity to join in a collaborative effort with a collective impact approach in a community or region is an important step. Pooling our wisdom and working together to address the root causes rather than simply the symptoms offers the best chance for meaningful progress.
The George and Frances Ball Foundation (GFBF) has adopted a proactive grantmaking strategy focused on increasing the educational attainment of our population and thereby increasing salaries and wages. The strategy was launched following the belief that many of our community challenges tend to be representative of symptoms rather than root causes.
The Cradle to Career Initiative, in which GFBF is involved, places emphasis on the roadmap to success, beginning before the birth of a child and ending with a career that is both fulfilling and pays a livable wage. As has been well-documented, by 2020, 65% of all jobs in the U.S. will require a form of postsecondary training or degree. In order for an individual to support themselves and/or their family, significant additional training beyond a high school diploma is required.
Education is the catalyst that enables communities to move forward and GFBF believes this is no different for the East Central Indiana region. By investing in children, both at an early age and continuously along the Cradle to Career pipeline, the need for future support services will be decreased over time and the community will prosper.
Obviously, this work cannot happen overnight, so it is important to have a multi-generational approach to both programming and advocacy. Investments must be made in children and their futures, while also meeting adults and families where they are today.
All of this coincides very well with the 21st Century Talent Region Initiative and the efforts of the Indiana Office of Career Connections and Talent. Under the leadership of Secretary Blair Milo, this office is leading a robust regional approach through the Next Level Indiana 21st Century Talent Regions plan. Secretary Milo, as a member of Governor Holcomb’s Workforce Cabinet, has traveled the state meeting with communities about the opportunities available. In the process of learning more about the 21st Century Talent Regions, GFBF was connected with two related support organizations that are part of this effort—The Indiana Talent Network and CivicLab. Both of these organizations play important roles in helping, advising, and facilitating the development of regional partnerships with assistance on methods of effectively working together and sharing the experience of other already successful regional organizations.
GFBF believes that education is the spark that can ignite further prosperity in a community. With the great work already underway regionally throughout the state, every county can benefit from involvement with its regional partners. Such efforts can kick start opportunities for collaboration, enhance community work, and model best practices from a network of neighbors. We believe there are many outstanding initiatives underway in East Central Indiana communities that can be shared and hopefully enhanced by a regional partnership. We are all stronger together.