What is a Talent Hub

The Talent Hub designation signifies that a local or regional cross-sector partnership has met rigorous standards for creating environments that attract, retain, and cultivate talent, particularly among today’s students, many of whom are people of color, the first in their families to go to college, and from low-income households. Bestowed by CivicLab, the Talent Hub designation is the only designation of its kind, is independently enforced, and serves as both an aspirational target for other cities to aim and a platform from which partnerships designated as Talent Hubs can build.

Eligibility for the Talent Hub designation is open to any group that gathers multiple stakeholders across sectors to focus on improving talent in the places they call home.  These partnerships may be led by nonprofit organizations, chambers, United Ways, community foundations, higher education institutions, economic development organizations, or any other group that has convening power.  Importantly, the designation is “model agnostic,” meaning partnerships may use any engagement model, measurement system, theory of change, and belong to any other kind of network.


Become a Talent Hub

The first step to becoming a Talent Hub is a consultation call with CivicLab staff.  During this call, your partnership will discuss its work, composition, history and plans for the future.  CivicLab will provide additional detail about the designation and answer your questions.  At the end of the call, if you are still interested in pursuing the designation, the partnership will be provided a self-assessment tool to begin the designation application process.


The Five Domains

The Talent Hub designation comprises five domains.  During the designation process, each domain is rigorously assessed using assessment tools, interviews, submission of data and evidence, and by examining work completed by the partnership.

Partnership Health is defined as the conditions, processes, and systems in place for the relationship-building, stakeholder engagement, data-based decision-making, and collective leadership necessary to achieve common goals.  Talent Hubs have both strong partnership health and processes in place to build and maintain partnership health.

Talent Hubs focus on strategies that redesign the underlying system that produces inequity.  They understand that equity is the relationship of interactions between a person and the system: that is it context dependent. As such, Talent Hubs understand the context by which inequity is produced and sustained, and employ partnerships, programs, policies, and sets of relationships to dissolve root causes.

A focus on postsecondary enrollment or talent attraction alone is an insufficient method of improving a sustainable talent ecosystem.  Talent Hubs focus on attainment – developing home-grown talent resulting in the increase of high-quality postsecondary credentials.

Effective partnerships go beyond coordination.  They align human, financial, physical, and technological resources across organizations and sectors to accomplish common goals.  Rather than adding new programs, they redesign and realign the existing set of supports and stakeholders to unlock existing capacity.

At the center of exemplar partnerships lies the three interrelated concepts of systems, scale, and sustainability.  These three items, while contextual to each partnership and place, work together to produce long-lasting systems change, partnerships, and more prosperous talent ecosystems.  Going well beyond financial sustainability or scaling programs, the S3 domain focuses on the stability of a partnership and its ability to respond to changes in their talent system.

Tools For Your Partnership

Many CivicLab tools to help your partnership improve are available for free.  Read about how Talent Hubs have met these standards.


The Talent Hubs

Learn more about the partnerships that have earned this rigorous designation.

The Network