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Education Design Lab Launches Designers in Residence Program to Strengthen the Role of Colleges and Universities as Regional Catalysts

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February,  2021) – Education Design Lab, a national nonprofit and leader in the design, implementation, and scaling of new learning models for higher education and the future of work, today announced the launch of a new national program that will lead a design team of leaders from colleges and universities in co-creating the future role of colleges in their communities. 

The 2021-2022 cohort will bring together a design team of 10 visionary thinkers and doers from post-secondary institutions who are the go-to people at their institution or system engaging in the development of regionally-focused partnerships that are driving college access, economic mobility, and workforce readiness. Beginning in May 2021, the Designers in Residence will work as a design team to co-create a vision that centers the needs of their learners within a new “school-to-work” economy, and provide the start of a roadmap for other institutions and innovators seeking to build and scale this ideal system. 

Each Designer in Residence will receive a $5,000 stipend to support their work on campus and a $5,000 grant award for their home institution upon completion of the program, for a total direct investment of $10,000. Designers in Residence will work alongside the Lab in shaping a national discourse, learn and train in the Lab’s learner- and employer-centered design process, iterate new strategies for their work, and lead the start of a life-long network of leaders across the country seeking to reshape higher ed and the learn-to-work journey.

“With degree participation rates severely impacted by COVID-19, particularly for students of color, colleges are seizing the moment to act as regional catalysts in creating opportunities for their learners,” said Kathleen deLaski, president and founder of Education Design Lab. “The leaders selected to participate in this Designers in Residence program will help to catalyze a community of practitioners who are honing effective practices within regional systems of higher education and workforce development—at a time when collaboration across sectors is sorely needed.”

Over the past seven years, the Lab has worked successfully with more than 100 colleges and universities, from HBCUs and religiously-affiliated institutions to public universities and community colleges. The Lab specializes in supporting colleges and universities co-design new models and approaches to respond to the changing needs of learners and employers.

The launch and development of this program builds off of the Lab’s extensive experience supporting and advising personnel at colleges and universities through ongoing initiatives such as the BRIDGES Rural initiative, the Community College Growth Engine Fund, and the UNCF Career Pathways Initiative. This program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and views expressed by the program do not necessarily reflect positions or policies of the foundation.

Interested applicants can apply between now and March 21, 2021. To submit an application or nominate someone for this program, please visit


Read the press release on PR Newswire here.


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