What We're Doing
In mid-2018, this network found its role in working to reduce barriers for students who are at risk of not graduating high school and making sure those students are ready for their next step, whatever that may be. This group consists of individuals from Kenosha County K-12 systems, postsecondary institutions in the county, groups currently working with at-risk students, and representatives from businesses and government. Even though the network is young, it has, so far, conducted asset mapping and a needs assessment, and is working toward implementing strategies in the coming year. Beyond this network, Building Our Future also supports the work of the Lumina Talent Hub, an initiative in Kenosha and Racine counties, and the Higher Education Regional Alliance (HERA), a collaborative of postsecondary institutions across the M7 region. This includes Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties.
LUMINA TALENT HUB
In 2017, Kenosha and Racine counties were designated as a Lumina Talent Hub through the Lumina Foundation. This is an initiative led by Racine County’s Higher Expectations, with partners Gateway Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and Building Our Future, with contributions from staff from Kenosha Unified School District and Racine Unified School District. The first year of collaboration has led to:
The first annual transfer articulation summit between Gateway and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside with an emphasis on creating career pathways;
A pioneering data agreement between the two institutions that will help us better understand the transfer student experience;
And a visit from the University of Texas’ Dana Center, a national leader in work focused on streamlining students’ coursework in math and making sure credits transfer.
The designation gave the region access to funds and technical support to elevate retention and graduation rates through greater student support.
HIGHER EDUCATION REGIONAL ALLIANCE (HERA)
HERA, a revolutionary collective of 18 postsecondary partners in the M7 region, represents over 170,000 students. The group seeks to build a fully capable, educated, and employed workforce to meet the current and future needs of the region through three overarching goals: (1) increase college completion; (2) strengthen program innovation, growth, and alignment; and (3) securing the talent bridge between higher education and regional employers. To do this, the institutions will further connect their rich array of programs to the region’s employment needs; serving as a “go to” touch point for site locators and economic development practitioners; and advancing the region’s quality of life. Once Kenosha County high schoolers graduate ready for their next step, HERA’s work will be vital to their success.
“The University of Wisconsin-Parkside remains committed to partnering with Building Our Future to advance our shared education and community engagement goals. The focus on improving equity aligns with the mission and vision of UW-Parkside and positions Kenosha as a stronger community. I am proud of the progress and momentum we have established and look forward to our continued efforts.”
Dr. Deborah Ford,
University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor
“The best part of Building Our Future is getting all of the right people in one room, working toward a common goal. We all do great work, but if our efforts are not collaborative and moving in the same direction, our impact is that much less.”
Boys and Girls Club of Kenosha Chief Executive Officer
For more data and analysis, visit https://www.buildingourfuturekc.org/high-school-completion1.html
Thank you to the following organizations for their involvement with this action network!
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
Higher Expectations for Racine County
Gateway Technical College
Kenosha Unified School District
Westosha-Central High School
Kenosha Area Business Alliance
Kenosha Boys and Girls Club
LMI Packaging Solutions
Jockey International, Inc.
Hallum Enterprises, Inc.
Leeward Business Advisors
Professional Services Group / Community Impact Programs
Kenosha County Division of Workforce Development