Now, more than ever before, education beyond high school is the ticket to opportunity and middle-class security in America. By the end of this decade, more than two-thirds of all jobs will require some form of postsecondary education. And yet, politicians and pundits continually debate the value of college.
Is college worth it? The answer is an unequivocal and resounding yes. That’s why Lumina Foundation, the nation’s largest private foundation focused on student progress and completion in higher education, set an ambitious goal: To increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Goal 2025 was borne out of an increasing sense of urgency – that to meet the demands of tomorrow’s workforce and society, higher education attainment must expand dramatically, in all directions and for all types of learners.
Lumina knew it would take collaboration to reach Goal 2025 and engaged VOX to develop a long-term, sustained communications campaign that would align policymakers, employers, civic leaders, institutions, students and everyone who has a stake in the success of students in support of Goal 2025.
To get Goal 2025 in front of the audiences that matter most, VOX secured speaking engagements for Lumina officials at high-profile venues and events and strategically increased the Foundation’s visibility through a robust earned media and executive thought leadership effort. Meeting Goal 2025 is critical to America’s economic security and prosperity, and so VOX and Lumina worked to position Goal 2025 as the cause championed by business leaders, employers and policymakers.
To that end, the Goal 2025 tour set out to answer the question “Is college worth it?” Lumina officials spoke with media and other key influencers around the economic impact of meeting Goal 2025 – for individuals, for employers and for society at large. When Lumina’s CEO rang the closing bell of the NASDAQ stock exchange, Goal 2025 was embraced by Wall Street. The tour and NASDAQ closing bell ceremony earned coverage on CNBC, CNN, FOX News, MSNBC, PBS Nightly Business Report, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Reuters, BusinessWeek, Financial Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, Yahoo! and more. And when Goal 2025 was the focus of expert panel discussions at the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, Goal 2025 became part of the public policy dialogue about how to strengthen our nation.
We saw Lumina’s annual Stronger Nation report as an important opportunity to build credibility for Goal 2025. To spread the word of its release, we coordinated an expert panel briefing on Capitol Hill and a national media tour promoting it. These efforts achieved coverage in USA Today, Reuters, Associated Press, Yahoo!, PBS Nightly Business Report, MarketWatch Radio, MSNBC.com and more than 50 metro market outlets.
To further momentum around the need to grow attainment, in 2015 VOX worked with Lumina Foundation’s President and CEO, Jamie Merisotis, on his book, America Needs Talent. VOX developed a book microsite, worked with Jamie to place a series of op-eds in mainstream national and D.C.-influencer focused publications, and executed a robust social media campaign to drive awareness to those pieces and the website that generated more than 55,00 actions on social media. VOX also worked with Jamie to secure high profile speaking opportunities reaching important audiences and influencers, including The New England Council, Town Hall LA, the Clinton School of Public Service, New Hampshire Institute of Politics, and University of California, Berkeley.