Syracuse Commits to Attainment Goal, Joins National Partnership

Say Yes Syracuse has committed to be part of a national goal.

Lumina Foundation has announced that Syracuse will be among the first 20 cities to partner with the organization to increase the number of residents to go to college.

On Wednesday, Lumina Foundation announced that Syracuse will be among the first 20 cities in America to partner with the organization in an effort to mobilize around the importance of increasing the number of Syracuse residents who go to college.

This collaborative effort will establish a community-wide attainment goal for Syracuse and support Syracuse partners in achieving that goal. Partners will have access to significant technical  assistance, data tools, flexible funding and guidance from a network of national thought leaders.

“Lumina Foundation’s commitment to seeing more Syracuse residents obtain college degrees is a tremendous boost for the community. This is a chance to bring educational opportunity to the students who graduate from the Syracuse City School District, allowing them to have meaningful access to the benefits of higher education, ‘’ says George Theoharis, associate dean of the School of Education.

Syracuse was selected to join in this mobilization effort because of the work the Syracuse City School District, Syracuse University, Say Yes to Education, the City of Syracuse and Onondaga County are doing to improve post-secondary attainment rates. Through this effort, Syracuse will amplify existing momentum by partnering with Lumina—as well as other national groups—to develop an action plan to increase the percentage of local residents with high-quality certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees.

“Say Yes to Education Syracuse, in partnership with Syracuse University, has worked with  students and families in the Syracuse City School District to emphasize the importance of attaining post-secondary credentials,’’ says Laura Kelley, chief academic officer for the Syracuse City School District.  "The support of Lumina Foundation around this very important work allows us to continue to inform our students and their families about financial pathways to college and to offer opportunities to thrive in a post-secondary environment for all of our students. ‘’

“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” says Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina. “Increased attainment delivers stronger local economies, greater individual earning power and better quality of life. Every community in America wants that, and we’ve designed this work to give leaders in Syracuse and beyond the tools they need to be successful.”

Lumina_horiz_rgbThrough the initiative, Syracuse will be eligible for an allocation of $200,000 from Lumina over a three-year period. The allocation will be tied to the achievement of goals and the overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. The guidance offered to Syracuse by national partners will be the most crucial part of the movement.

Mary Anne Schmitt-Carey, the president of Say Yes to Education, says, “We are proud to be part of the Lumina 2025 national coalition. This collaboration will strengthen our efforts to enable every child in Syracuse to aspire to complete a postsecondary education.”

Project leaders from Syracuse and the other 19 cities have already begun to participate in webinars with the national partners to prepare them for the upcoming months of strategic planning. Community representatives and project leaders are currently in Indianapolis for a two-day kick-off convening and workshop being led by Lumina.

“It is our hope that Lumina’s support can fan the flames that are already burning in our partnership cities, improving results there and showing cities across the country how this gets done and just how transformational education can be for communities’ social, economic and civic strength,” says Haley Glover, strategy director at Lumina Foundation heading up this work.

The national thought-leadership organizations that (CITY) officials will have access to through this initiative include American Chamber of Commerce Executives, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, Brookings Institution, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, DCA, Inc., Excelencia in Education, the Harwood Institute, Institute for Higher Education Policy, National League of Cities, OMG Center, Say Yes to Education Foundation, Strive Together, Talent Dividend and United Way Worldwide.

The other cities joining Syracuse in the first cohort of this initiative include Albuquerque; Boston; Buffalo; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis; Philadelphia; Pittsburgh; Providence, R.I.; Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.; San Antonio; Santa Ana, Calif.; and South Seattle, Wash.