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FutureMakers Coalition

The Urgency of Increasing Higher Education Attainment in America

By | News

As postsecondary skills have become essential to success for millions of Americans, few would argue that our nation has all of the talent it needs to prosper. New data reveal that our country risks falling behind in a global race — the competition for innovation and, above all else, talent — unless actions are taken now to significantly increase postsecondary attainment.

Projections by the Georgetown Center on Education and the Workforce show that more than 65 percent of U.S. jobs will require some form of postsecondary education by the end of this decade. And yet, according to Lumina Foundation‘s just-released annual Stronger Nation report on postsecondary attainment rates across America, only 40 percent of working-age adults (ages 25-64) now hold at least a two-year degree.

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WSJ: Education Does Reduce Inequality

By | News

In recent months some of the leading economic minds in the country have declared that when it comes to explaining rising inequality, education doesn’t matter. Larry Summers, former Treasury secretary and former president of Harvard, said at the National Press Club in February that it’s an “evasion” to suggest education and training as a solution to inequality.

“The core problem is that there aren’t enough jobs,” Mr. Summers said. “If you help some people, you could help them get the jobs, but then someone else won’t get…

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Tax Credits Don’t Necessarily Boost College Attendance, Research Finds

By | News

The federal government spent $23 billion last year on tax credits to families paying for college. Despite the generous payout, the funds likely didn’t do much to boost college attendance, according to a new paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

Higher-education tax credits, which have been around since 1997 and then were expanded significantly in 2009, don’t affect whether or where students enroll, or what other financial aid they receive, according to economists George B. Bulman ofUniversity of California, Santa Cruz, and Caroline M. Hoxby of Stanford University.

One big reason the money doesn’t make much difference in whether someone decides to go to college, or what school they attend, is the timing of the credit. Tuition bills arrive an average of nine or 10 months before a family would receive any tax credit, so the upfront costs remain an obstacle to many families.

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FutureMakers Coalition Launches

By | Press Releases
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Goal to increase region’s higher education completion to 40 percent by 2025


FORT MYERS, Fla. (March 18, 2015) – More than 80 business, government, education, workforce and economic development leaders recently joined together to launch a regional cohort, FutureMakers Coalition.

The goal of the FutureMakers Coalition is to increase the number of people in Southwest Florida with high-quality degrees, certificates, and other credentials to 40 percent by the year 2025.

“Currently 27 percent of the workforce in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties has some sort of post-secondary degree,” said Sarah Owen, president and CEO of the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the Coalition’s backbone organization. “With targeted funding, legislation and uniting groups around the same goal, we expect to be able to meet this milestone by 2025.”

The FutureMakers Coalition was born out of a regional initiative last year, which was supported by a team of more than a dozen stakeholders focusing on strengthening Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Glades and Hendry counties. FutureMakers took an active role in aiding high-school seniors through one-on-one and group mentoring, Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshops and support, and career coaching.

After one year, the work of FutureMakers was recognized by Lumina Foundation, an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. The Southwest Florida Community Foundation will serve as the coordinator for regional participation, and the FutureMakers Coalition will benefit from Lumina’s collaborative approach that connects Southwest Florida to renowned national thought-leadership organizations and provides technical and planning assistance, data tools and flexible funding as attainment plans are customized. Lumina has a network of 75 cities that make up Lumina’s Community Partnership for Attainment network. The network includes Southwest Florida and is now closed.

“It’s not just degrees that we will focus on but ‘industry-recognized certifications’ that can help people land better jobs and are key to economic and workforce development,” Owen added. “Higher education can lead to better jobs and a higher quality of life.”

As leaders, conveners, grant makers and concierges of philanthropy, the Southwest Florida Community Foundation is a foundation built on community leadership with an inspired history of fostering regional change for the common good in Lee, Collier, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties. The Community Foundation, founded in 1976, connects donors and their philanthropic aspirations with evolving community needs. With assets of more than $80 million, the Community Foundation has provided more than $60 million in grants and scholarships to the communities it serves. Last year, the Foundation granted more than $2.8 million to nonprofit organizations supporting education, animal welfare, arts, healthcare and human services. The Foundation granted $782,000 in nonprofit grants including more than $400,000 in regional community impact grants and additional $450,000 in scholarship grants.


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