Education Coalition Becomes Partner of Lumina Foundation Community Network

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L to R: Dakota Pawlicki Strategy Officer for Community Mobilization, Lumina Foundation & Justin Hanft, Executive Director, Chautauqua County Education Coalition

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Chautauqua County Education Coalition

Lumina Foundation has named the Chautauqua County Education Coalition one of the nearly 100 community partnerships nationwide to be part of the Lumina Community Network. This announcement solidifies a partnership and ongoing relationship with one the nation’s leading foundations committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build and equitable, accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve this goal.

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.

Justin Hanft, Chautauqua County Education Coalition Executive Director, said, “While our regional economy and the education level of our residents are interdependent, the Chautauqua County Education Coalition is about preparing individuals for high-demand jobs, moving them through educational pathways leading to careers.”

Hanft added, “It is rewarding to be a part of the Lumina Community Network, which will allow us to connect with other like-minded communities and organizations. It will enable us to help many more of our students and adults increase their level of education and job skills to support the demands of our region’s manufacturing and healthcare employers, as well as other key economic sectors over the course of time.”

Working across sectors with postsecondary and adult education partners provides the opportunity to cultivate new strategies to support students facing barriers that can derail their educational goals. The Coalition’s board of directors representing community organizations and sectors, are working with partners to implement strategies consistent with the Lumina network membership. Members of the Coalition’s board of directors include President Bill Smock, Dunkirk City Schools; President Elect Amy Rohler, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County; Treasurer Ann Abdella representing Chautauqua County Health Network; Secretary Heather Brown, The Resource Center; Greg Certo, Truck-Lite; Dr. Daniel DeMarte, Jamestown Community College; Matt Ewalt, Chautauqua Institution; Katie Geise, Chautauqua Workforce Investment Board; Rob Keem, Athenex; Chris Lanski, Exelco; Susan Marker, Chautauqua Opportunities; Randy Myers, Cummins Inc.; David O’Rourke, Erie 2-Chautauqua-Cattaraugus BOCES; Tim Piazza, Manufacturers Association of the Southern Tier; and Todd Tranum, Chautauqua County Chamber of Commerce and MAST.

Hanft continued, “Our community needs more people who have high quality credentials beyond a high school diploma. Our local post-secondary institutions are the life blood for regional economic development and talent more than tax policy and infrastructure is what will enable a community to participate in tomorrow’s economy. Through this partnership with Lumina we are working at the systems level to go beyond individual programs, making sure students within Chautauqua County’s learning system, of all ages and races, can pursue an in-demand pathway to prosperity.”

The partnership was announced May 1 during Lumina Foundation’s 2019 Driving Change convening which was held in Detroit, Michigan.