How to tell your #talentdividend story

How to tell your #talentdividend story

Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 18, 2013

The February issue of Talent Dividend Network is all about telling your story. So many groups in so many cities are working so hard and effectively, but sometimes, getting the community to pay attention can be difficult. Join us for a live chat, right here, on Wednesday, February 27 at 2pm (Eastern)/11am (Pacific) to chat with some of the folks getting the most traction with #talentdividend narratives.

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Bruce Freeman
on Mar 19, 2013
"Diversity is one thing....it can be static unless people are thoroughly engaged with one another...."
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013
"as one of the main newsletter writers, I feel your pain- good luck getting tomorrow's out!"
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013
"I think we should ask, if you know there are specific audiences (high school students, college..."
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013
"Thanks, Dan. This was fun. And a note to participants--if ever you'd like to chat further about..."
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013
"I also think it's worth reminding everyone why education is so critical to the health of a..."
Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013
"Thank you Dan and everyone for participating.  Loved the format...will be back to reflect on..."
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013
"I am somewhat biased in what makes me angry, inspired, activated... But I think the ultimate..."
Amy Elliott Bragg
on Feb 27, 2013
"Oh, I know. I have spoken to a lot of people who are like, "hey, off the record, this..."
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013
"I would always try to find a local angle to a national story, whether it's a seasonal story like..."
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013
"Our slow response could be an indicator that this is where a lot of us are struggling...."
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013
"I would only let you know that sending them out more frequently makes the newsletter writer have..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013
"Before the conversation officially ends in a few minutes, I just want to say a big thanks to..."
Amy Elliott Bragg
on Feb 27, 2013
"Honestly, part of my process for writing this piece was just sitting down and reflecting on the..."
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013
"I agree about needing to earn credit- I think we in Colorado are a little spoiled (!), since CSU..."
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013
"I would look at some of the interesting tech investments some of the big foundations have made in..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013
"We only have a few moments left, so I want to pose one final, somewhat general question...."
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013
"You are in both an enviable position, and one that I would not want to be in. :) Have you thought..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013
"That's outstanding advice, Bill. The strategy you allude to is really related to the point Amy..."
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013
"Sorry to be confusing Patrick-- I meant, have you seen your newsletter recipients respond the..."
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013
"I would also look at some of the interesting investments that funders like Kresge, Lumina, Gates..."
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013
"I'm even wondering what other groups are doing that relate to non-professionals.  What can "the..."
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013
"It's my hope, though, that MOOCs continued to be talked about only to the extent that they..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013
"One of the things Amy advocates in her piece about the Epic Story of Your City is changing the..."
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013
"The other side of this is that with the sequestration there is likely to be an impact on..."
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013
"We do, sometimes with TD groups and sometimes with other metro partners. But I am pretty well..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013
"That's great, Patrick. Specific call to action are so important, because without them, momentum..."
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013
"I think you need to be strategic.  In the next month or so there will be a lot of stories about..."
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013
"Patrick--I think you're right. I actually think that the Talent Dividend has just redefined how..."
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013
"We're hoping to have discussions about MOOCs, education and jobs, any hot button topic out in the..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013
"Haley, do you partner with local Talent Dividend teams to author and localize op-eds for their..."
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013 - 2:55 pm

Before the conversation officially ends in a few minutes, I just want to say a big thanks to Elisa DeGregorio in Tampa Bay, Bill Moses at Kresge, and Haley Glover at Lumina. Also, big ups to TDN publication editor Amy Elliott Bragg for this great issue this year.  

 

Responses(2)

Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

Thank you Dan and everyone for participating.  Loved the format...will be back to reflect on these questions and for future chats!

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

Thanks, Dan. This was fun. And a note to participants--if ever you'd like to chat further about anything higher ed related, please don't hesitate to get in touch! hglover@luminafoundation.org

 
Expand This Thread
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013 - 2:53 pm

We only have a few moments left, so I want to pose one final, somewhat general question. Throughout this conversation, we've heard a number of important questions to be asking--What's the impact of this work? How do we measure it? Whose life or experience can demonstrate this success?

What other questions should we be asking ourselves about our work to better shape the narrative and story? 

 

Responses(4)

William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

I would always try to find a local angle to a national story, whether it's a seasonal story like college admissions or an investment in a local university's MOOC by a big funder.

I would also seek out interesting investments in your community that your local TD community is making that maybe have not gotten much attention. 

For example, are you supporting adult degree completion through IHEP's Project Win:Win at a local university?  How is that working out for a single mom living in your city?  What does the data show would be her likely income if she didn't have a degree?

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

I am somewhat biased in what makes me angry, inspired, activated... But I think the ultimate question, the epic question, is the one that has to drive any community's strategy. How is my work going to make life better for the people who live here?

I've lived and worked in a lot of cities, big and small, and while I think leaders ultimately are working in the best interest of citizens, we get caught up in constituencies and loyalties. Ultimately, the legacy that this work is going to leave behind is that it attempted, one student at a time, to reinvigorate a community behind its greatest asset--it's people.

So, final statement--this work is investing in the ONLY thing that will truly impact a community's vitality, economic and quality of life. PEOPLE and the talents they bring to the table.

Soapbox much!?

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

I also think it's worth reminding everyone why education is so critical to the health of a community and the opportunity it provides to an individual.  Make the big case with data and demonstrate it with a real person.

 
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013

I think we should ask, if you know there are specific audiences (high school students, college students at risk of not completing, etc.) what are the best ways cities have reached those audiences to inspire action?

 
Expand This Thread
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013 - 2:47 pm

One of the things Amy advocates in her piece about the Epic Story of Your City is changing the conversation. In other words, getting out of old ruts (college is too expensive, parents and schools aren't preparing students well enough) and re-framing the conversation in terms of success and what it means. We've discussed this to some extent above, but I wonder if anyone has a good case study of doing this really well. Amy, you talked about Wichita and Cleveland--what drew you to those examples?

 

Responses(2)

Amy Elliott Bragg
on Feb 27, 2013

Honestly, part of my process for writing this piece was just sitting down and reflecting on the conversations I've been having with the competing cities for the past eight months. What stories came to mind right away? What examples do I personally use when I'm talking about the Talent Dividend with people who don't know what it is?

It's funny, I think there's some harmony with what we're talking about earlier on the thread, about working person-to-person to get traction for these efforts. That's the case in both Wichita and in Cleveland. People physically sat down in a room together and physically signed a piece of paper as a way to symbolically say, "Okay, we're working together on this now; no more fighting." (I think a number of other cities have signed compacts like this one, too.) In Wichita, representatives from the program physically go on visits, two-by-two, to talk to employers about the ROI of investing in things like tuition reimbursement programs. Cities everywhere are saying, "We're not going to get anything done if we keep having these arguments," about remedial education, or technical schools, or whatever. In many ways I think this is the most valuable aspect of the Talent Dividend Iniative - it's been a catalyst for people to throw a lot of old ideas out the window and bring a lot of new ideas around the table. So to speak.

 
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013

Our slow response could be an indicator that this is where a lot of us are struggling.  Louisville has yet to have an epic story and the conversation we want to create doesn't seem to be going over so well (isn't as inspirational as we would hope).  Our conversation looks to keep the greater Louisville area unique (known for KY Derby, Bourbon, Basketball) by maintaining or growing our economy.  Education attainment to keep the area's quality of life/uniqueness.  It's an angle but we want more traction.

How do we simplify and inspire at the same time?

 
Expand This Thread
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013 - 2:34 pm

I'm curious as to what everybody perceives media to be interested in right now, and how we can tie talent dividend successes and challenges to what the media seems to gravitate toward. For instance, there's a story about MOOCs and college debt every day. How can we connect to that? Or what other media tropes can we tie into? 

 

Responses(15)

Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

A MOOC, btw, is a Massive Open Online Course.

 
Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

We haven't done this yet, but there are a few big threads of news stories related that media is picking up on...the cost of a college degree and also its relationship/relevance to available jobs in the market.  I definately think there is an opportunity here...

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

Jobs Jobs Jobs.

Obviously, media types focus on the exceptional cases. We hear so much about PhD cab drivers or BA-holding bartenders, and folks think that's the norm, which really harms our case. They also gravitate towards the worst-cases--the debt overloads, the 10-year college students, etc. To some degree, you're not going to change those tendencies, but you can adapt a strong media strategy where you're poised to respond at every turn to those tropes. We write op-eds ALL the time for local and national media, and while they're certainly not stemming the tide of mission-harming stories in the media, they're keeping us in the loop. Also, when they're written by influential people in the community, they're even more impactful.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Haley, do you partner with local Talent Dividend teams to author and localize op-eds for their markets? 

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

We do, sometimes with TD groups and sometimes with other metro partners. But I am pretty well positive we WOULD partner if any community needed us.

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

I think you need to be strategic.  In the next month or so there will be a lot of stories about "thick" and "thin" envelopes relating to college admissions on NPR, the Times, the Post, the networks, etc.  They focus on students seeking access to elite institutions usually (the stories are the equivalent of cover stories on diets for swim suit season).

This is probably the time to reach out to local media with stories about college admissions and completion in your community -- and not just on elite institutions but on community colleges, too.  Why are students going to community colleges in larger numbers, etc.?  These are predictable stories and you can take advantage of regular seasonal interest to highlight your work in your community -- and why college degrees are som important. 

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

The other side of this is that with the sequestration there is likely to be an impact on financial aid awards for the Spring and next September.  Let reporters know that you can help them find informed people who can talk about this very topical sotry's impact on students in your community.

This helps to position you as a voice on this subject.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

That's outstanding advice, Bill. The strategy you allude to is really related to the point Amy makes in her article (see below) about changing the conversation. There is, right now, a great opportunity to change the conversation away from those elite stories to the more practical and pragmatic stories about the real impact of a two-year or state college degree. 

 
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013

Though it doesn't necessarily give the one-on-one that seems to be most effective, we're investing much more energy into social media, twitter primarily, facebook secondarily, to give individuals on the 55K team more a voice and identity.  We're learning that people look to see personalities and what individuals of the organizations actually have their hands in and relate to the community.

 
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013

I agree that MOOCs and college loans are the buzz words/phrases of the day-- I think one place TD where can step in is to remind listeners and readers of the diversity-- a MOOC is not only a free course, it's the opportunity for someone in a rural area to start (or restart) their education. College loans are often why people drop out of school- and a huge barrier to re-entering, especially if you have a family to take care of. I know I might be beating my same drum, but I think diversifying stories.

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

It's my hope, though, that MOOCs continued to be talked about only to the extent that they actually contribute to college credentials. VERY few institutions right now offer credit for their MOOCs. And few institutions accept credit for MOOCs completed. Prior Learning Assessment strategies need to be in place for folks to realize the benefit of free courses.

But for my money, a great learning-based institution like Western Governors University is the best bet for returning students. It's relatively reasonably priced, adapts to the pace of the learner, and people can earn credit for what they already know, meaning they don't have to start over.

http://www.wgu.edu/

 
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013

I agree about needing to earn credit- I think we in Colorado are a little spoiled (!), since CSU Global is beginning to offer credits for Udacity courses.

 

But I agree about PLA whole heartedly!!

 
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013

We're hoping to have discussions about MOOCs, education and jobs, any hot button topic out in the media (as well as the seemingly boring data we have on our website through data dashboard, progress reports, etc.) in these social media platforms and hope they inform possible directions to take when we're face-to-face with people.

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

I would also look at some of the interesting investments that funders like Kresge, Lumina, Gates and others have done on both the tech side and the reduction of barriers side.

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

I would look at some of the interesting tech investments some of the big foundations have made in this space and see if there are local ties.  Gates, Lumina, Kresge and Hewlett have invested in technology at various levels, and groups like Coursera and EdX have recruited colleges to their MOOC platforms from across the country.  Maybe there is a local link that you can highlight -- and use to discuss the broader issue locally?

 
Expand This Thread
Amy Elliott Bragg
on Feb 27, 2013 - 2:14 pm

I'm really interested in the methods cities are using to spread the word about their efforts. What's been successful from a traditional media relations approach (branding campaigns, press conferences, the dreaded press releases)? Do cities rely on relationships with the local press? How does this work in big cities where you're competing for the attention of major media properties? How does it work in smaller cities where the media market is smaller?

Are cities trying more digital strategies? Social media? 

And what do organizations do when they don't have a ton of resources to invest in, say, a PR firm? 

Just wondering what works at every level of the spectrum!

 

Responses(19)

Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

And tied to that is the difference between pitching media and pitching philanthropy? Bill and Haley, what are the characteristics of stories that interest you and your colleagues the most? I know philanthropy is increasingly focused on outcomes. Which outcomes do you find yourself focusing on? 

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

I think philanthropy is more interested in data and a strategic, well-thought-out program. We're less interested in what I would call "human interest." The outcome that interests Lumina is: will it have an impact on degree attainment. That's it.

Media--you're going to need a different strategy. It has to be localized, it has to have that passion and human interest. I'm really interested in hearing how the media has been used by folks as a tool. Can you do this work without the media, or are they integral to success?

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

For us at Kresge, we don't have a big goal, which Lumina has (60% of all adult Americans with a postsecondary credential by 2025). 

Nevertheless, we very much agree that focusing on outcomes is critical.  We typically ask ourselves before we make a grant, "how does this idea or intervention improve college completion on a national scale?  how does it move the needle?"

Not everything has to move the needle on a huge scale, but if we can't see the data that suggests change will occur on a large scale, a good story is probably not enough to get a grant (the cities with good data and good plans have good stories too!). 

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

This is just my opinion, but I think spreading the word has to, to a very great extent, rely on person-to-person contact, particularly when you're starting and when you're in your partner-attraction phase. So pounding the pavement is your most effective way of spreading the word.

There are a number of opportunities to attach of other events, as well. So, a city council meeting, a PTA meeting, a community foundation event, etc. All of these are places where you're going to be in front of the people you care about--again, delivering an in-person message. Also, think about where people spend at least 8 hours a day--target employers as your delivery people for your message.

If you're interested, we can put you in touch with some folks from Louisville--they have a great web presence, and very good visibility in the community. They could probably be a great help.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Boy can I relate to that, Haley. What we've found in building and stregthening the Talent Dividend Network online is that every online connection is usually the result of person to person contact, usually by email, then phone, then follow-up. 

Louisville is a great example, too. Related to that data thread above, I was particularly struck by how they took the 1 percentage point (of what?) and turned into a concrete reachable but very substantial goal-- 55,000 degrees-- and made that the brand. Great idea!

 
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013

The name of our organization definitely helps with goal promotion but as we try to spread the word of our initiative, people hear the name but are confused as to what 55,000 Degrees is if there is no explanation.  We hope the broad-scale communications awareness campaign can help with that.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

yeah, I suppose the word "degrees" makes people think of degrees of separation or Kevin Bacon or whatever. Interesting. 

 
Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

We also identified what we anticipated was 1% in #degrees...but in a state whose population growth is pretty explosive...our estimate was off...so I would not specifically relate the # of degrees to the 1% growth...Louisville is a great example...

 
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013

Through 55,000 Degrees in Louisville, KY, we are young in our branding campaign and broad-scale communications campaing but have many mentions in our local media and hold a number of press conferences and releases.  That person-to-person contact or a representative individually meeting with or presenting to groups has gotten us the most traction.

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

Definitely, Kofi--and I would not undersell the value of that 55,000 number. It is something solid that individuals, orgs, churches, K-12, the media can really hold on to. Also, your annual tracking of results is a ready-made reporting opportunity.

 
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013

I agree with you Haley but helping individuals (targeted audiences in the population that we know we need to affect to reach our goal) realize they do support this goal and can easily corral whatever efforts they currently give to improving our systems education is what becomes the challenge as we hope to move people to act and take part.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Hi, kofi! Welcome to the conversation! I was just singing 55K degrees' praises above. Has the directness of that goal-as-brand worked well for you and your partners?

 
Kofi Darku
on Feb 27, 2013

Dan, it has helped us garner support from the top (leaders in the business, education, government, and community-based sectors) and it has helped us identify focal areas that will be crucial in addressing in reaching the goal.  It really hasn't helped us get a large response from the public at large.  Awareness definitely will affect that so expanding awareness is something we're definitely focused on.  

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

I don't know about all cities, but one city with a great media approach is Los Angeles and Unite-LA.  They have established a very strong partnership with Univision to promote their college access work.  With a large Latino community, having a close partnership with Univision ensures that students and their families hear about College Goal Sunday and other efforts designed to improve student access. 

Each community has different demographics, but if I were in Houston, Miami, El Paso, Chicago or Phoenix, I'd think that a partnership with Univision might be especially effective. 

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Bill, can you talk about how that partnership works? What's the content of the partnership? Is Univision using their news arm to spread the word?  

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

I'll just chime in. One of LA's great assets is their Chamber of Commerce, which enjoys just tremendous leadership. That's another thing you need to think about in telling your stories--where are you finding leadership? How are you using it?

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

Unite-LA is part of the California Cash for College program, which seeks to ccordinate 600 workshops in 49 counties across California.

The leading force of Unite-LA is the LA Chamber of Commerce, especially David Rattray and his team.  My sense is that Unite-LA works with Univision and that it is mostly about PSAs, but that there are also probably some soft news stories, too. 

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

great. that's helpful. It's important to be clear about what media partners can and can't deliver, and what the value is. 

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

Unite-LA also holds annual College and Career Conventions each fall that attract 13,000+ participants, provide 600 financial aid workshops and run a bilingual awareness campaign. 

This includes a combination of paid airtime with donated public service announcements on radio and television programming that reaches low-income and Spanish-speaking communities through its Univision relationship.

 
Expand This Thread
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013 - 2:12 pm

Can I also ask what kinds of "calls to action" you use when telling your stories? 

 

Responses(8)

Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Patrick--what do you mean by that? Can you give an example of the kind of call to action you're imagining? 

 
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013

This past fall, I attended the "Building a Culture of College" ideastream (local NPR station for those not from the area) partnership on "Cleveland Connects" - an effort to engage in dialogue around issues important to the area. So the conversation was interesting. Then I attended the "follow-up" meeting, which was geared towards providing some ways to get involved.  And the ways to get involved just weren't very specific or fleshed out. 

I also know that I can send out a newsletter that says, "get involved in these three ways..." and spell out what to do. 

More to the point, I suppose I'm wondering what types of "get involved" opportunities are embedded in other Talent Dividend initiatives stories. 

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

That's great, Patrick. Specific call to action are so important, because without them, momentum gets lost and we fail to achive the impact or outcome we're driving toward. 

What specific calls to action work? 

 
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013

I'm even wondering what other groups are doing that relate to non-professionals.  What can "the average Joe" (or Sam as the case may be) do to help reach "the goal"?

 
Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

Within our region we have a local initiative called "Graduate Polk."  They established a hotline to call for prospective students to inquire about their local universities.  When they call that hotline, they will get a more personalized assessment of what to do next from the staff and their information will be passed along to the seven universities participating. 

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

I think that you can also use existing information related to data about your community.  We have, for example, sold our support of postsecondary access and success by borrowing slides from Lumina that show has US college achievement is static and slipping against other countries.

A great website, also funded by Lumina, is the Educational Needs Index.  On the Educational Needs Index, you can see how your city -- and even individual neighborhoods -- fare against other places in terms of higher education success.

The information we saw on the ENI web page actually was one of the reasons why we focus on Los Angeles for some of our grantmaking.  The site shows that South LA has the lowest college achievement rate in the nation.  It is ground zero for the college success agenda.

 
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013

I think this is a great question- the call to action is very different if you're speaking to a prospective student than an employer

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

Oh, I am going to sound like such a Lumina employee when I say this, but SET A GOAL. It seems simple, but the very act of setting a goal means that you have to do something to accomplish it. It's a ready-made call to action.

 
Expand This Thread
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013 - 2:11 pm

So much of the work Talent Dividend cities are doing is about data, which often just isn't very exciting. How can you make a story about data more  exciting and compelling?

 

Responses(12)

Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

Keep it simple...our community and business leaders were quick to gravitate to the 1% increase increment promoted by CEOs for Cities.  It can be overwhelming to set lofty goals given the hurdles to really move the needle.

 
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013

I think there is an inherent challenge there though.  In Northeast Ohio from 2009 to 2010, we saw that we surpassed the 1% goal in degree attainment. And the story just didn't gain the traction we thought it would - and I'm not sure it surpassed the attention we received at the beginning of the effort.  

Which led me to think that the data part of this story - and even the large scale economic benefit - is almost too amorphous to be sticky. 

 
Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

Agree...we only use data like that when pitching why we need this program with business leaders...to Haley's point...our focus is on the human interest side now and when you can tie that to data...very powerful.

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

Patrick--I think you're right. I actually think that the Talent Dividend has just redefined how cities in this country think about education as a REAL infrastructure and economic investment. But, let's be real--1% is not very big. And probably, when you went back to look at the data, you didn't see that corresponding leap in income, right? Especially given the timeframe you were looking at.

So, the prize obviously is a hook. But I think this is rationale for expanding your goals beyond the Dividend, and not measuring your impact by media coverage!

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

A lot of us nerds find data very interesting and compelling, Dan!

Truly, I think data gets a bad rap. The real problem is that people don't know how to deliver it. So, find your best public speaker, the one who can get a crowd revved up and totally piqued for your work, and get that person trained on how to talk about the facts adn data in a way that utilizes their strengths. Also, couch the data in stories--every data point is a human being, and if you can find a way to deliver on the power of statistics AND remind people that you're talking about families, kids, out-of-work parents, etc. you will have attained the holy grail of persuasive presentation!

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Well said, Haley (from one wonk to another). 

 
Amy Elliott Bragg
on Feb 27, 2013

I actually think that data is HUGE right now in media and people are VERY excited about it. Just think about what a star Nate Silver was during the 2012 election! Or get lost browsing Atlantic Cities for a while. You'll be up to your neck in infographics, interactive maps, and bar charts. 

The hard part is explaining what that data means for your city - preferably in one grabby, shareable headline. In other words, the data isn't the story - you have to think about the story the data tells. 

I'll go ahead and contradict myself here and say that in some cities, data IS the story - like when you see K-12 and higher ed collaborating to share data with one another, in some cases for the first time in history, and using that data to overcome historic hostility and finger-pointing. Is there an opportunity to tell THAT story in your city?  

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

Amy--that is so insightful. But also you have to be careful, right, because pointing out that the two major education organizations HAVEN'T been working together can do some damage! But yes, those stories that talk about shared commitments, common goals and overcoming hostility can be so powerful and inspiring to all those other players who need to overcome THEIR hostility.

 
Amy Elliott Bragg
on Feb 27, 2013

Oh, I know. I have spoken to a lot of people who are like, "hey, off the record, this relationship used to be really bad!" but I think it shows great humility and cooperation when leaders (on both sides of course) can gracefully admit that there has been tension in the past and then commit to moving forward together.

 
Susan Kannel
on Feb 27, 2013

We have found that data are one of the most exciting aspects, but it's a different data point for different audiences.  For examples:  We are working through 3 separate chambers, and the economic impact gets the attention of this group.  Employers don't always care so much about degrees, but they do pay attention to a prepared talent pipeline, so we use these data points for this group (and it's a scary, bleak picture once you get into it a bit).  Schools pay attention to the "some college, no degree" as well as our help with their messages to other audiences (i.e. adults, employers).  For WIBS, it's more growth industry sectors and where to find credentials to realistically enter these sectors.  Bottom line, I guess, is segmented data to fit different audiences.

 
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013

I love data and am always grabbing as much as possible. The biggest challenge I've had with data is that the numbers get to be so large! In Northeast Ohio we're talking about 4.1 million people; 600,000 with some college and no degree; a drive to reach 1,000,000 college degrees; and a regional economic that we want to see increase by $3 billion per year. Those just seem like Monopoly numbers to me... and I'm the data guy!

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

You are in both an enviable position, and one that I would not want to be in. :) Have you thought about partitioning the work into smaller categories? So, of your 1M degrees, how many certifications, associates, bachelors, etc? What populations--maybe 25% of them from the traditional students and the rest from new and returning adults? Working as a region doesn't preclude individual communities--could you create city-level, or even neighborhood-level engagement strategies? Obviously, it's a more complex system, but it would get rid of those crazy big numbers.

 
Expand This Thread
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013 - 1:59 pm

Hello, and officially, welcome to the second Talent Dividend Live Chat. It's great to be a part of this growing community of people committed to improving college attainment rates across the country. 

One important piece of housekeeping. Please refresh your browser frequently so you can see the most recent comments. 

Our first question is above, from Brynn Downing. In addition, I thought we might start out by asking Who is doing a great job telling their region's story? What makes that particular success so noteworthy?

And for Elisa, what's been the most successful talent dividend story you and your collaborators have been able to tell in the Tampa region?

 

 

Responses(22)

Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

First off, thank you so much for including Tampa Bay in this discussion...we are thrilled to particpate.  We have been focused on telling individual student stories...we want to inspire others using real testimonials.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Can you say more about that? What student stories have resonated most strongly?

 
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013

And what vehicles have you used to share them? (newsletters, print pieces, etc.)

 
Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

We use an e-zine called 83 Degrees media to publish the positive news stories that link to our website in addition to traditional media and social media.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Hey there, Patrick! Good to have you here. Can you speak to any of the successful story-telling you and others have been able to do in Northeast Ohio?

 
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013

We have had success with our own email newsletter that we send out on the last day of every month.  We also host an annual Northeast Ohio Talent Dividend Summit (typically in December) to share some of the good news. 

 
Amy Elliott Bragg
on Feb 27, 2013

Oh, I love the idea of a regional summit for Talent Dividend efforts!

 
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013

Patrick, out of curiousity, how much of the newsletter connects into the bigger picture? in Denver, we've found that quite a few of our stakeholders like knowing about studies or reports coming out, since it's more info for their arsenal. Have you seen this?

 
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013

I love that idea Brynn.  You can see some of our newsletters here - http://www.noche.org/294.  How does it fit in? We try to only focus on issues relevant to college completion, with more emphasis on the colleges and universities than on the secondary education system.  We also try to share lots of the regional career/jobs issues.  I admit it is a struggle connecting our local effort to a nationwide effort - especially when trying to keep it focused on six or fewer stories.  

When you ask if I've seen it, do you mean the National Talent Dividend magazine? Or the Denver one? I'd love to see the Denver one and have seen the national effort.

 
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013

Sorry to be confusing Patrick-- I meant, have you seen your newsletter recipients respond the same way to regional/national information.

 

Below is a link to Denver's latest newsletter. We send them out on a quarterly basis, but reading what everyone has to say today makes me wonder if we should send them out more often

 
Patrick Britton
on Feb 27, 2013

I would only let you know that sending them out more frequently makes the newsletter writer have to do A LOT of work the day before and day of the sending (he said knowing he has a newsletter to go out tomorrow).

I think our readers are more responsive to things that they can do in their position. So if I have a note about a free conference for teachers, then teachers are likely to click on that. I think people scan the headlines looking at what is most relevant to them and that is their action. So national news (I often include Brookings or things from The Atlantic) has lots of traction because of the brand name and the topical nature of what is being proposed. But I also see that when I include a local item, people from that locale are likely to respond. 

Ultimately - it is a mixed bag for sure. 

 
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013

as one of the main newsletter writers, I feel your pain- good luck getting tomorrow's out!

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

I think there are several cities with great stories to tell.  Ther first that comes to mind is Philadelphia:

Graduate! Philadelphia, which is the organizing committee for the Talent Dividend in that city, had a headstart in the program since they predated the TD Prize, but they have an active website and coalition of education institutions in their city: 

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

I like Brynn's question very much. It's important, obviously, to know your audience and to know how they might react BEFORE you start messaging. And of course, certain things are going to resonate with certain groups. Regarding the diverse constituencies--you are lucky in that Talent Dividend work is a message for all populations. It's about improving the entire city's outlook and talent pool, so you can talk about it from an economic vitality position, with meta-indicators and stuff like that, or you can talk about it in terms of take-home income, available jobs, improved schools. Very few people can argue with outcomes like that.

Your question about recognition of orgs/individuals and others feeling left out is right on. What I would focus on it recognizing efforts frequently, equitably and with constant reverence for the overarching work you're all focusing on. By tying individuals and orgs to the big picture, you're stealing some of their thunder, sure, but you're also building the case for why they and others need to stay in the game.

And of course, this is all easier said than done!

 
Brynn Downing
on Feb 27, 2013

Thanks Haley!

I think something that Denver has been striving to do, regarding the diverse constituencies, is to make sure that the imagery and voices used represent a diverse group (nontraditional students who might be older, POC)

I believe Louisville's imagery strategy is similar in that regards

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

Definitely. Use of diverse people in materials and websites has to be a very conscious effort. And it has to align with reality, too. I remember my alma mater's materials always featured diverse students. And it was great, until I got to campus and realized that we were very much NOT a diverse campus. Then it just seemed forced.

 
Nancy Reeves
on Feb 27, 2013

Haley,

I think the way you are using the term diverse is indicative of the challenge you rightly call out in your alma mater.  Rather than valuing real diversity (which means having a community broadly representative of who we are as a country - which includes white males, for example), we - me included - use diverse as you did - as a code word for the individuals who stand out as different from the mainstream, predominantly white, predominantly able bodied, etc.Until we start to really value diversity, which means doing the hard work necessary to intentionally make our communities welcoming to each of us, it will be hard to move beyond featuring students who are different on college brochures to having campuses which feel enough like home to each of us that we stop counting certain faces in our marketing.

 
Bruce Freeman
on Mar 19, 2013

Diversity is one thing....it can be static unless people are thoroughly engaged with one another. Being in a University and/or a classroom with a diverse group of individuals does not necessarily mean we're becoming more understanding of one another. It's the additional steps that must be taken to really create change and make a difference over time. Thanks for the insights.

 
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

That's very helpful, Haley. I can totally imagine how, with so many different organizations involved, it would be easy to accidentally leave out people who have been doing good but sometimes hidden work. Releasing frequent messages seems like a good way to go about doing this work.

It would seem to me that having a strategy for tracking the work of partners and whose work is getting spotlighted when would help.   

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

Definitely. And also, we have to remember that the way this work gets done is that orgs/individuals "Pick a lane." It's great to be able to celebrate the contributors who may not be working directly, but are filling a vital role in one of those outer lanes.

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

I think Denver has done a pretty great job through their Chamber of Commerce leadership. Also, I'd call out Philly, as well. That model is one that is relevant for every single community in this nation.

 
Elisa DeGregorio
on Feb 27, 2013

Hard to pick just one...when we launched the initiative we brought students to the press conference who went back to obtain their degree.  One student stood out...Richard Mullins..."eventually he found himself homeless, living out of his Nissan for several months"...see the full story linked below. 

 
Expand This Thread
Brynn Downing
on Feb 26, 2013 - 4:56 pm

I suppose one question is: how do we tell our city's story in a way that doesn't alienate diverse sections of the city's population? Or to highlight initiaitives without other organizations or individuals feeling as if their work isn't being recognized?

 

Responses(5)

Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 27, 2013

Great question, Brynn! Thanks for getting the ball rolling early! 

 
Haley Glover
on Feb 27, 2013

I like your question very much. It's important, obviously, to know your audience and to know how they might react BEFORE you start messaging. And of course, certain things are going to resonate with certain groups. Regarding the diverse constituencies--you are lucky in that Talent Dividend work is a message for all populations. It's about improving the entire city's outlook and talent pool, so you can talk about it from an economic vitality position, with meta-indicators and stuff like that, or you can talk about it in terms of take-home income, available jobs, improved schools. Very few people can argue with outcomes like that.

Your question about recognition of orgs/individuals and others feeling left out is right on. What I would focus on it recognizing efforts frequently, equitably and with constant reverence for the overarching work you're all focusing on. By tying individuals and orgs to the big picture, you're stealing some of their thunder, sure, but you're also building the case for why they and others need to stay in the game.

And of course, this is all easier said than done!

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

Adding to Haley's comments, Brynn, I think that one way to avoid alienating communities is to include as wide a representation as possible:  business, K-12, community colleges, philanthropy, four-year schools.  I would also reach out to leaders who represent various parts of the community to help you make the case, so that you people of different races and class backgrounds sharing your concern.

For business, the focus may be on a competitive workforce, but for a church leader it may be about ensuring that low-income parishioners and their children have a chance to improve their futures.

The city that I think has done an excellent job at this is Houston.  Houston is actually one of the most diverse cities in the country and the Center for Houston's Future has included people from all racial/ethnic communities, business and from different class backgrounds.  At a TD event they held last year, they had a Latino rapper promoting college access, business leaders talking about workforce, the mayor talking about global competitiveness, and almost all of the city's college presidents in the room.  

There was not criticism of the K-12 system, for example.  Rather, it was, what can we do to improve college success together?

 

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

You can see Center for Houston's web page

 
William Moses
on Feb 27, 2013

Also check out MyDegreeCounts!

 
Expand This Thread
Dan Moulthrop
on Feb 18, 2013 - 11:03 am

Joining us will be Haley Glover, Director of Convening Strategy at Lumina Foundation and Elisa Degregorio, Senior VP for Operations and Strategic Direction at the Tampa Bay Partnership, and Bill Moses, Program Director for Education at the Kresge Foundation. More partners to be announced soon.