The Talent Dividend Network

Take a city--any city--and boost the number of college graduates by little more than a single percentage point and what do you get? It turns out, quite a bit. That single percentage point gain has an outsized economic impact. In the Tampa Bay region, it's over $3 billion. In Northeast Ohio, it's roughly $2.8 billion.

These figures all come out of research from economist Joe Cortwright. The more educated the city, he says, the more robust its economy. In fact, the percentage of college graduates in a city's population accounts for 58 percent of a city's economic success, as measured by per capita income. From Austin to D.C., the most successful cities have the highest number of college grads.

If that's not incentive enough to boost college attainment, here's another. With the support of the Kresge Foundation, Lumina Foundation and DeVry, CEOs for Cities is offering a $1 million dollar prize to the city which produces the biggest increase per capita in college-degree earners in a three-year period. The prize will be used to launch a national promotional campaign focused on—what else?—talent development. This is The Talent Dividend Prize.

And while 57 cities across the country are competing in the contest that launched in May, that million dollar carrot is merely an incentive and rallying cry. The point, and the larger prize, is for each city to raises its college graduation rate, thus bringing huge dividends to their own economies.

Adapted from "Talent Dividend: How more college grads can add to Pittsburgh's bottom line," by Tracy Certo. Originally published in Pop City on Nov. 16, 2011.

Your Learning Hub

At the top of the page, there are great opportunities for you to engage with your peers across the country, learn from one another, share best practices, and ask the questions about this work that you've been wanting to, and help get your city closer to making the Talent Dividend your own. Don't see the conversation you think should be happening? Well, you can start one, or get in touch with us.

It's your Civic Commons, so you get to start the conversation you think is important.

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Kresge Foundation
Lumina Foundation