New Round of Funding Aims to Energize States and Increase Quality Non-Degree Credentials

September 18, 2023

Washington, DC – SEPTEMBER 18, 2023 — National Skills Coalition (NSC) announced today that it received a generous grant of $1.2 million from Lumina Foundation to mobilize states to expand access, affordability, and equity in quality non-degree credential attainment. With this generous support, NSC will work with state leaders to pursue strategies for increasing quality credentials for adult learners so that more people have access to meaningful employment and career pathways. 

Previous Lumina funding allowed NSC to provided technical assistance to define, measure, and track the quality of non-degree credentials, and expand access to them. This new grant will enable NSC to build on this progress by working with its SkillSPAN network and a broader set of state leaders to expand financial assistance and related policies so that more adult learners can access and complete quality non-degree credentials. NSC will intentionally design this work with a racial equity lens, engaging national and network partners with diversities of background and perspectives, ensuring inclusion of those with lived expertise and understanding of the intersectional inequities that create barriers to credential completion. 

“We are thrilled to receive this generous funding and are grateful for Lumina’s ongoing support of this vital work,” said Brooke DeRenzis, chief strategy officer at NSC. “Everyone should have opportunities to pursue education and training that advances their careers. We want to make college work for more working people by supporting states in adopting changes that fully and equitably support working people’s needs, career goals, and economic mobility. 

“With states now investing nearly $4 billion annually in short-term credentials and Congress looking at ways to expand federal aid to these programs, it is more important than ever for states, colleges, and other partners to understand how to define and deliver quality credentials. We’re pleased to partner with National Skills Coalition to build state capacity and awareness of best practices in this space,” said Kermit Kaleba, Strategy Director for Employment Aligned Credentials. 

Over the course of 19 months, NSC will engage states through: 

  • Launching a peer learning community for cross-sector teams from 15-20 states to share knowledge and take action that advances access to quality non-degree credentials and career pathways;
  • Providing tailored technical assistance to ensure that state financial assistance investments translate into more equitable enrollment and completion of quality non-degree credentials for adult learners and students of color; 
  • Building awareness and commitment among a broad set of stakeholders, to develop strategies that advance quality non-degree credential access, attainment, and equity; and 
  • Applying state experiences and policy learnings to inform NSC’s Making College Work policy agenda. 



About NSC  

National Skills Coalition fights for inclusive, high-quality skills training so that people have access to a better life, and local businesses see sustained growth. We engage in analysis and technical assistance, organizing, advocacy, and communications to improve state and federal skills policies.    

About Lumina Foundation 

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation in Indianapolis committed to making opportunities for learning beyond high school available to all. We envision higher learning that is easy to navigate, addresses racial injustice, and meets the nation’s talent needs through a broad range of credentials. We are working toward a system that prepares people for informed citizenship and success in a global economy.