The Talent Dividend Prize Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                               JANUARY 31, 2011 
CONTACT:                                                   ALAINA BEVERLY, 202-466-2543
                                                              JENNIFER MUELLER, 202-587-4941

CEOs for Cities Launches $1 Million Talent Dividend Competition to Boost Talent in America's Cities

Prize Will Go to City with Greatest Increase in College Degrees by 2014

Washington, DC – Recognizing that talent development is fundamental to the success of cities, CEOs for Cities is launching a $1 million prize competition to encourage college attainment in America’s major metros.  
The national non-profit network of urban leaders committed to creating next generation cities will award the prize to the metropolitan area that exhibits the greatest increase in the number of post secondary degrees granted per capita over a four-year period.  The competition is part of CEOs for Cities’ effort to encourage cities to realize their “Talent Dividend” and improve their economic potential by increasing their college attainment rate by one percentage point.
“Research shows that 58 percent of any city’s success, as measured by per capita income, can be explained by the percentage of college graduates in its population,” explained Carol Coletta, president and CEO of CEOs for Cities.  “There are huge financial gains to a city that can be achieved through small improvements in educational attainment alone.”

Dr. Nancy L. Zimpher, Chancellor of SUNY and Chair of the Coalition of Urban Serving Universities said, “Thanks to CEOs for Cities, we now know that for every one percentage point increase in our college graduation rate, New Yorkers will earn an additional $17.5 billion each year.  This is an exorbitant amount of income, and it has the capacity to drive our economy to new heights and simultaneously address a critical need for improved student success. The Talent Dividend Competition is an added incentive for cities across the country to renew their focus on college attainment and degree completion.”
Registration for the prize opens today and will close on May 1, 2011.  The $1 million prize will be used to launch a national promotional campaign for the winning city.

Don Borut, President of the National League of Cities, welcomed this innovative approach to improving educational attainment in urban America. “Our cities are working hard to meet the rising demand for more and better education, but we are facing great fiscal constraints,” he said. “The Talent Dividend provides proof of the intrinsic economic value of college attainment for cities, and the prize encourages partnership across sectors, so that entire communities collaborate to achieve our economic potential.”

“We see this competition as a grassroots opportunity to spread the message that attaining a higher education degree has become an economic imperative in the United States,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and CEO of Lumina Foundation, one of the sponsors of the prize.

“In the increasingly competitive global economy, it is vital that as many Americans as possible attain college degrees so they can be prepared to contribute to our nation’s future,” said American Council on Education President Molly Corbett Broad. “That is why we are very pleased to partner with CEOs for Cities over the next few years on this important and innovative effort to develop talent in our metropolitan areas.”

The Talent Dividend Prize competition is supported by the Kresge Foundation and Lumina Foundation for Education.  “We believe that this competition will motivate local leaders to think creatively about reaching out to both traditional and non-traditional students to improve college achievement," said William Moses, Program Director for Education at the Kresge Foundation.  “Four years from now, when the prize is awarded, we hope to not only have improved life outcomes and fostered a workforce that is educated to compete, but to have secured evidence of what really works to create a pathway to college completion.”

CEOs for Cities and its partners will host a launch event for cities that register for the Talent Dividend Prize competition on May 10, 2011 in Chicago, and the winner will be announced in September 2014.

The Talent Dividend Prize competition is open to all U.S. cities with a metropolitan population of 500,000, or the largest metropolitan area in a state based on 2009 American Community Survey data.  Each metropolitan area is required to register and submit annual documentation of its educational attainment efforts in order to be considered for the prize.  

Eligible cities may register at  Urban leaders from any sector are eligible to register; however, each city is required to appoint a key liaison and a 6-8 member advisory panel composed of leaders from multiple sectors.

The prize competition is an outgrowth of City Dividends, CEOs for Cities research that calculated the monetary value to cities and the nation of increasing college attainment rates by one percentage point (Talent Dividend); reducing vehicle miles traveled by one mile per person per day (Green Dividend); and reducing poverty rates by one percentage point (Opportunity Dividend).  

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CEOs for Cities is a national network of urban leaders dedicated to building and sustaining the next generation of great American cities.


The Talent Dividend Prize is made possible with generous support from:

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