Join one of the largest gatherings of local, regional, and state-level cross-sector partnerships for the annual convening of Talent Hubs and the National Talent Network.  Bringing together leaders and practitioners from higher education, philanthropy, workforce agencies, economic development, government, and the non-profit sector, the Annual Convening provides an opportunity to learn promising practices and hear new ideas from every corner of the country.

The convening will take place on December 4-7, 2023 at the Renaissance Riverview Plaza Hotel in Mobile, Alabama.  In addition to keynote speakers and plenary sessions featuring national experts and thought leaders, the agenda includes long-form breakout sessions featuring local and regional strategies to improve education and talent systems at the local, regional, and state levels.

Register Here

Thanks in part to generous sponsorship, CivicLab is pleased to provide reduced registration costs to make the convening an affordable opportunity for all who wish to attend.

Early bird registration closes on September 29, 2023, so register today!

Categories and Cost

Talent Hubs and partnerships in the National Talent Network receive subsidized registration costs.  If you are unsure if you are part of a Talent Hub or the National Talent Network, contact Megan Langdon at

Discounts are available for:

  • Organizations and partnerships bringing five or more attendees
  • Presenters that are not members of a Talent Hub or the National Talent Network
  • Partnerships engaged in Alabama Possible’s Regional College Attainment Network building effort supported by CivicLab
  • Annual convening sponsors
  • Members of CivicLab’s Systemness Leadership Academy

Contact Megan Langdon for a discount code if you are within an eligible group.

Complete Your REGISTRATION Today



The Annual Convening features a blend of national thought leaders and local practitioners, all focused on improving education outcomes, economic well-being, and quality of life.  All sessions are focused on equipping attendees with exemplars, case studies, tools, frameworks, and other resources that can be used in their own work.


The convening begins on Monday, December 4 with optional pre-day institutes from 10:00a-4:00p CT.

The main event begins Tuesday, December 5 at 9:00a CT.

The convening concludes on Thursday, December 7 at 12:00p CT.

Check Out Agenda Highlights


Mainstage Presentations

Mobile Talent Hub Feature:  This year’s convening begins with a feature of the Mobile Talent Hub, a partnership among Bishop State Community College, Coastal Alabama Community College, the University of South Alabama, the Mobile Chamber of Commerce, and Alabama Possible.  Institutional and community leaders will take the stage to welcome attendees to Mobile and discuss how cross-sector collaboration has led to the creation of new credential and career pathways.

Employer Partnerships:  Professor Joe Fuller of Harvard Business School will present a new report outlining recommendations to improve employer-to-higher education partnerships.  Professor Fuller will be joined by Jim Schacht, Vice President for Corporate Responsibility and Community Relations and CEO of the Cummins Foundation, and Dr. Shanna Jackson, President of Nashville State Community College for a panel conversation exploring exemplary partnerships among the private, public, and social sector.

Dave Snowden & Complexity Science:  Internationally known for his development of the Cynefin Framework and research into knowledge management and complexity science, Dave Snowden is a leading thinker on tackling complex challenges. With deep roots in various forms of government and citizen engagement, Dave and his colleagues created a dedicated Citizen Engagement & Democratic Innovation programme to provides tools for collective sense-making in the areas of community development and youth work, civic engagement and democratic innovation, collaborative service/policy design and evaluation, housing/tenant engagement, futures and planning, shared learning and peer-to-peer knowledge exchange.

Alan Cohen of the Child Poverty Action Lab:  One in four children in Dallas live in poverty.  A group of leaders and organizations in Dallas created the Child Poverty Action Lab to permanently break the cycle of poverty for children and families in Dallas.  Focused on six big bets to transform poverty in Dallas, the group has already made significant progress in moving social outcomes.  Alan Cohen, the leader of CPAL, will join the conveing to discuss their process, their partnership, and the outcomes they’ve been able to achieve.

Power of Networks & Living Laboratories: Leading national experts and innovative local leaders will take the stage to present unique insights and innovative partnerships.  More information on these sessions coming soon!


Breakout Sessions

Big Bets: Communities across the country are gathering stakeholders and making big bets to dramatically improve education, talent, and economic ecosystems.  During the Big Bets session, attendees will hear from the leaders of these initiatives, learn their process, and understand the conditions required to move population outcomes.  Big Bets include:

  • How might Columbus, IN become the most equitable community for youth by 2030?
  • How might Detroit and Southeast Michigan create more avenues to high-wage mobility jobs in the EV sector while reducing the equitable postsecondary attainment gap in half by 2030?
  • How has the FutureMakers Coalition transformed the region’s talent system in only 9 years – starting as a workforce education coalition with a modest $16,000 pilot project and evolving into a thriving network boasting more than 150 strategic partners. Their remarkable journey culminated in a $23 million Good Jobs Challenge partnership with Florida Gulf Coast University.
  • How might the North State Together partnership in California expand its work from five counties to ten?

Getting It Done: The real power in gathering a large network of leaders and practitioners is the opportunity to “rob and duplicate” tools, processes, resources, and frameworks from other successful partnerships.  These breakout sessions focus entirely on the use of data tools, collaborative processes, equity frameworks, and other tangible tools that can be immediately used upon returning home.

Partnership Features and National Partners: Talent Hubs, members of the National Talent Network, and national technical assistance partners will present their work, resources, and lessons learned.  Presenters include the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), Lightcast, MetaCX, SmallBox, Upskill Coastal Bend, Lumina Foundation, and more.


Pre-Day Institutes

All attendees are encouraged to attend one of two optional pre-day institutes.  These pre-day institutes take place on Monday, December 4 from 10:00a – 4:00p (lunch included) and provide attendees a deep-dive opportunity on specific topics.

Pre-day institutes are offered as a discounted add-on to the registration cost – $50 by the early bird deadline; $75 after the early bird deadline.

Institute 1: Systems Building Lab: Join CivicLab for a deep dive into the principles and practices of systems building. The Systems-Building Design Lab teaches collaborative teams how to dissolve social problems by redesigning the underlying system and shaping the conditions that caused the problem in the first place. A complex issue is not any one thing, but a tangled knot of different kinds of interacting problems. What’s required is not a single solution, but an ecosystem of interrelated approaches for managing, solving, and dissolving the various types of problems that exist. It’s a systems thing, not a single thing. This lab helps a diverse group of stakeholders see that they are part of something bigger than themselves. And it presents how they can redesign their collective work together to make it act more like a system, ultimately achieving a state of “systemness.” (Teams encouraged to attend together.)

Institute 2: Designing Equitable Postsecondary Policy and Practices: 

Join SCAILE (the Shasta College Attainment and Innovation Lab for Equity) and key higher education experts to explore ways to enhance equitable outcomes through effective postsecondary policies and practices.  The role of postsecondary institutions has changed dramatically, driven by the need to serve a broader range of students, including adult learners, students with some college but no credential, and those trying to balance work and family. These changes were accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic and continue to gain importance for the students we strive to serve. Consequently, reviewing policies and practices to ensure that they are responsive to individual and community needs has never been more important.

This interactive institute will allow participants to identify key changes to our institutions that have prompted more equitable outcomes for students. We will also learn from each other about areas for growth and change. Whether you are connected to a postsecondary institution or not, please join us to talk about the importance of postsecondary partners in our community collaboratives and how our practices can help us achieve our institutional and community-based goals.


It’s Not All Work

Come for the content and stay for the company!  The convening will provide several opportunities for teams to gather for their own end of year retreat, connect with other attendees over a happy hour, and even a special event or two.  When CivicLab polled its network on their desires for this convening, connecting with other leaders and practitioners was the number one request.  The 2023 convening will deliver on that request and allow you to connect with other like-minded people from around the country.

Attendees and teams will have evenings free to explore all the Mobile has to offer.  From a burgeoning restaurant scene and live music right across the street, to exploring the historic roots of Mardi Gras or the USS Alabama Battleship, your time in Mobile will be well spent.


CivicLab is proud to feature the Mobile, Alabama Talent Hub at this year’s convening.  Attendees will have the chance to hear from Mobile leaders on their efforts to create new pathways among two- and four-year institutions connected to new and growing economies in the region.

We partnered with The Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza Hotel this year for our attendees to relax, enjoy the convening, and connect with other attendees! Please book your hotel by using the link below for the Annual Convening group rate. The last day to book a hotel room is Monday, November 13, 2023.

Book Your Hotel Room

Sponsorship allows CivicLab to keep registration costs low for attendees, opening access to those who are usually unable to attend costly national conferences.

The 2023 Convening is generously supported by Lumina Foundation, Ascendium Education Group, Alabama Possible, Troy Street Professional Services, MetaImpact, and Blue Forge Alliance.

Those interested in becoming a sponsor can download the sponsorship packet.  Contact Dakota Pawlicki at for more information.



For registration support, contact

For questions about sponsorship, the agenda, or the content of the Annual Convening, contact Dakota Pawlicki at

For all other questions, contact Megan Langdon at