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?