Austin getting $350,000 in ‘talent hub’ funding for degree completion

Austin’s got talent, and the potential to develop a lot more. Hence, it comes perhaps as no surprise that it was named Monday as one of 17 “talent hubs.”

Each of those communities is getting $350,000 to help boost education and training beyond high school. Funding comes from the Indiana-based Lumina Foundation in partnership with the Michigan-based Kresge Foundation.

A coalition led by the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce plans to focus on 70,000 college stop-outs — students who have temporarily withdrawn from school or delayed the pursuit of their education. The grant will bolster ongoing efforts to increase postsecondary achievement, said Gilbert Zavala, the chamber’s vice president of education and talent development.

Richard Rhodes, president and CEO of Austin Community College, said workforce needs are especially high in the fields of health care and information technology.

The other talent hubs designated by the Lumina Foundation are Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston; Cincinnati; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Denver; Fresno, Calif.; Los Angeles; Louisville, Ky.; Nashville, Tenn.; New York; Philadelphia; Racine, Wis.;
Richmond, Va.; Shasta County, Calif.; and Tulsa, Okla.

“These communities are the creative and entrepreneurial engines that power our nation,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of the Lumina Foundation.

The communities will target 18- to 22-year-old students, older adults with college experience who stopped before finishing their studies and adults with no formal education beyond high school. The Lumina Foundation said the talent hubs are committed
to eliminating deep disparities in educational outcomes among African-Americans, Hispanics and American Indians compared with white and Asian students.

Emergency grants available to preserve cultural materials damaged by hurricanes

Some museums, libraries, colleges and other cultural institutions in Texas and other states and territories sustained damage to their collections from recent hurricanes. It’s not widely known, but the National Endowment for the Humanities can help.

Emergency grants of up to $30,000 are available from the federal agency to preserve documents, books, photographs, art works, historical objects, sculptures and structures damaged by the hurricanes and subsequent flooding.

The endowment will award up to $1 million in such grants, according to acting Chairman Jon Parrish Peede. The agency has partnered with Humanities Texas and the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities to address those states’ needs. The endowment is providing about $250,000 in initial funding to the two state humanities councils to be re-granted according to their assessments of local needs.