Process Works

The HCM Strategies process is to Align, Advocate and Advance. By methodically working through our method of bringing together like-minded entities with a goal for positive outcomes, we are able to use our team of experts to advocate on behalf of our strategic goal. The outcome of these efforts is real and meaningful change.

Read examples of these outcomes below.

  • ALIGN.

    HCM brings together those who share a common belief in commitment to change for racial equity and economic mobility outcomes in K-12, postsecondary education and connecting learning and work.


    HCM strategically uses our team of experts, existing relationships, grassroots engagement, data, creative thinking, communication and other resources and tools to advocate for change.


    HCM is committed to advancing real change, whether that is a public policy, clear communication and advocacy, connecting learning and work or student engagement.



Strategy Labs
Strategy Labs is Lumina Foundation's nationally-recognized resource for state leaders and influencers to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. Since 2010, Lumina has drawn upon the state policy team at HCM Strategists to manage the Strategy Labs and offer non-partisan content expertise and facilitation aligned with Lumina's state policy agenda to increase attainment and close equity gaps. Lumina's Strategy Labs have supported over 40 states in adopting statewide attainment goals, over 15 states and systems in adopting outcomes-based funding aligned with this evidence-based framework, and advised leaders on statewide strategic plans and affordability policies in over two dozen states.
Context for Success
Context for Success was a collaborative effort between scholars and policymakers from across the nation to identify best practices to account for differences in college “inputs”—students, resources, fixed characteristics—when evaluating postsecondary outcomes. Commissioned by HCM Strategists in 2011, Context for Success identified challenges in current methods of evaluating postsecondary education and sought ideas grounded in research that would have practical benefits in the higher education policy world. You can find the results of the project by visiting the Context for Success website: seven research papers that evaluate input-corrected quantitative measures of postsecondary outcomes, as well as an overview of the project, a literature review, and an accompanying series of issue briefs.

Case Study

Tackling Inequities Through Intentional Strategic Planning

HCM Strategists (HCM) works to advance and align policies that improve educational outcomes beyond high school. Our postsecondary team is focused on eliminating inequities that continue to place learners at a disadvantage in pursuing and completing a postsecondary credential.

By assisting the strategic planning of colleges, higher education systems, non-profit organizations and state agencies and their respective boards, HCM works closely with leaders to strengthen the postsecondary field’s capacity to serve more learners well and eliminate historic gaps in educational attainment.

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HCM effectively works on our clients behalf, providing support and strategic guidance to help form policy priorities that are impactful and meaningful in the channels of both health and education.  We tackle the hard stuff, reforming federal financial aid, increasing college attainment and completion rates and ensuring that patient preferences and priorities are at the center of regulatory decision-making.

  • Appalachian State University

    As the premier public undergraduate institution in the state of North Carolina, Appalachian State University prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all.

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  • Austin Chamber of Commerce

    For 140 years, the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce has connected the community to make Austin work. We invest in a broad range of programs that build and support a prosperous regional economy.  Leveraging our Opportunity Austin initiative, we help create jobs, recruit job generators, and develop talent.  We help companies’ startup, expand and innovate. We ensure students are workforce ready. We push for policy to remain the best place to work, live and play. We roll up our sleeves to take on the biggest issues our community cares about like affordability, CodeNEXT and traffic. We connect businesses to resources and information to help them network and grow.

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  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

    The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation seeks to accelerate efforts already under way in higher education and to support the enormous talent, creativity, and energy being applied to improving student completion rates and lowering costs while raising the quality of the U.S. postsecondary education system.

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  • Brother Martin High School

    The mission of Brother Martin High School is to form young people through a holistic education that fosters academic excellence in a caring, disciplined community which integrates Catholic tradition and the charism of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart to meet the needs of a changing world. Located in New Orleans, Louisiana.

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  • California Edge Coalition

    In the more than a decade since its formation, EDGE has focused on improving California’s system of workforce education and training and removing the serious barriers that prevent so many Californians from getting the skills they need to succeed in the labor market. California has made progress since we first came together. There is now widespread recognition that despite the state’s historic commitment to higher education, too few students achieve degrees, certificates, or transfer and many low-skilled working adults have limited access to skill-development opportunities. Career education that had once received limited recognition and insufficient financial support is increasingly being recognized as an important component of postsecondary education.

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  • California Student Aid Commission

    The California Student Aid Commission is the principal state agency responsible for administering financial aid programs for students attending public and private universities, colleges, and vocational schools in California. The Commission has never wavered from its central mission to make education beyond high school financially accessible to all Californians.

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  • Campaign for College Opportunity

    Campaign for College Opportunity is a statewide advocacy organization in California with a mission to ensure all students in the state have the opportunity to attend and succeed in college. They work to influence legislation and system policies through raising student voice, collaborating with other like-minded leaders, and elevating research and best practices. In 2014, HCM Strategists worked with the CCO Board to develop their next strategic plan through 2018.

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  • Charter School Growth Fund

    Every child deserves a high-quality education. The Charter School Growth Fund identifies the country’s best public charter schools, funds their growth, and helps to increase their impact.

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  • Circle of Service Foundation

    Circle of Service Foundation is a private foundation that makes grants to support great organizations to enhance community, opportunity and well-being.

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  • Collaborative for Student Success

    The Collaborative for Student Success is a non-profit advocacy organization that works to defend high standards, high-quality assessments, and strong systems of accountability, to ensure that all kids are prepared for college or career. Through capacity-building efforts with in-state organizations and collaboration with national partners, we promote fact-based public discourse and fight to advance policies that promote best practices and ensure equitable outcomes for all students.

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  • Delgado Community College

    Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, Delgado Community College is a comprehensive community college that offers programs through the Associate degree. The College provides a learning centered environment through face-to-face and distance education to students from diverse backgrounds to attain their educational, career, and personal goals, to think critically, to demonstrate leadership and to be productive and responsible citizens.

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  • ECMC Foundation

    Based in Los Angeles, ECMC Foundation is a national foundation working to improve postsecondary outcomes for students from underserved backgrounds.

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  • Educate Texas

    Educate Texas, an educational initiative of Communities Foundation of Texas, is the trusted change agent to strengthen Texas public and higher education. For more than a decade, we have worked side by side with our partners to empower students to realize their dreams and fuel a thriving Texas.

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  • Education Commission of the States

    The Education Commission of the States continues to partner with education policy leaders to address issues by sharing resources and expertise. We are proud to serve both the people who develop and implement education policy and the students who directly benefit from effective policy change

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  • Florida College Access Network

    Florida College Access Network (FCAN) is at the heart of a movement to ensure all Floridians have the opportunity to achieve an education beyond high school and prosper in our dynamic economy. By partnering with leaders, educators and communities throughout Florida—especially through community   alliances called local college access networks (LCANs)—we strive to achieve the State of Florida’s SAIL to 60 goal: for at least 60% of Florida adults to hold degrees and workforce-relevant credentials by 2030.

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  • Generation HOPE

    Our vision is that all teen parents and student parents, and their children, have every opportunity to succeed and are empowered to create a better future for themselves, our community, and our world.

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  • George W. Bush Institute

    The George W. Bush Institute, founded by President and Mrs. Bush in 2009, is a public policy center in Dallas with the mission of advancing freedom by expanding opportunities for individuals at home and across the globe. Built on principles that guided the Bushes in public life, the Bush Institute uses leading research to develop and implement policies that offer practical solutions to pressing problems in the United States and abroad.

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  • HEAL Trafficking

    Health, Education, Advocacy, Linkage: because human trafficking is a public health issue. We are an integrated network of over 3,800 survivors and multidisciplinary professionals in 45 countries dedicated to ending human trafficking and supporting its survivors, from a health perspective.

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  • Indiana Commission for Higher Education

    Created in 1971 by an act of the General Assembly and signed into law by then Governor Edgar Whitcomb, the Indiana Commission for Higher Education is now in its fifth decade of service to the State of Indiana. The Commission is not a governing board, but a coordinating agency that works closely with Indiana’s public and independent colleges. In addition, The Commission has strong working relationships with many other State agencies, including: Department of Education, the Department of Workforce Development and the Independent Colleges of Indiana.

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  • Institute for Higher Education Policy

    The Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to promoting access to and success in higher education for all students. Based in Washington, D.C., IHEP develops innovative policy- and practice-oriented research to guide policymakers and education leaders who develop high-impact policies that will address our nation’s most pressing education challenges.

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  • Iowa Department of Education

    Through leadership and service to the state education system, the Iowa Department of Education works to ensure all students are ready for college and career training and receive the postsecondary support they need to succeed. The Department provides oversight to the state education system that includes public elementary and secondary schools, nonpublic schools that receive state accreditation, area education agencies, community colleges, and teacher preparation programs.

  • JerseyCAN

    JerseyCAN advocates for all students across the state to have access to excellent schools. Our goal is to ensure that every student in New Jersey graduates from high school ready to enroll and succeed in college and their career.
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  • Learning Heroes

    Learning Heroes helps answer your questions: about homework, what your child is expected to learn each year, ways you can support your child’s emotional health and happiness, planning for college, and more. Their mission is to inspire and equip parents as Learning Heroes, so every child can succeed. They connect you to useful information and simple actions you can take to help your child thrive in school and life. Their team helps you understand how to best support your child’s education and connect you to resources from some of the nation’s most trusted experts and organizations such as the National PTA, Scholastic, Common Sense Media, GreatSchools, Univision, and more.

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  • Lighthouse Louisiana

    At Lighthouse Louisiana our mission is to empower people with disabilities through services, employment, and advocacy. Our state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities in New Orleans, Baton Rouge, and Gulfport create jobs for people who are blind. Proceeds from the sales of high-quality, commercially competitive products help fund services for people who are blind, Deaf, and who have other disabilities. We help people get jobs, regain their independence, and challenge expectations of the capabilities of people with disabilities. Even as a century-old nonprofit, we’re constantly evolving to better serve our community.

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  • Louisiana Board of Regents

    The Louisiana Board of Regents serves as the state’s leading force for talent development through quality, affordable postsecondary education for all. The 15 volunteer members of the Board of Regents are appointed by the Governor to six-year, overlapping terms, with at least one (but not more than two) Regents drawn from each of Louisiana’s seven Congressional districts. In addition, the Louisiana Council of Student Body Presidents appoints one student member as its representative on the board. Policies and decisions of the Board of Regents are administered by a full-time staff headed by the Commissioner of Higher Education.

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  • Lumina Foundation

    Lumina Foundation, an lndianapolis-based private foundation, is committed to enrolling and graduating more students from college—especially 21st century students: low-income students, students of color, first-generation students and adult learners. Lumina’s goal is to increase the percentage of Americans who hold high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina pursues this goal in three ways: by identifying and supporting effective practice, through public policy advocacy, and by using our communications and convening power to build public will for change.

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  • Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

    The goal of the Massachusetts public K-12 and adult education system is to prepare all students for success in life.

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  • National Parent Teacher Association

    National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of family engagement in schools. The PTA’s mission is to make every child’s potential a reality by engaging and empowering families and communities to advocate for all children. The PTA’s values are collaboration, commitment, diversity, respect and accountability.

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  • Northeastern Illinois University

    Founded in 1867, Northeastern Illinois University has a rich tradition of educational innovation and prides itself on preparing teachers and administrators who make a difference in Chicago. That tradition continues to this day and has expanded to include an array of academic disciplines, allowing the University to embrace fully the community in which it resides. Northeastern is regarded as the most diverse public comprehensive university in the Midwest and is designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution. Diversity is an important factor in the character of Northeastern and in the social fabric of its student body. The University has an enrollment of more than 7,000 students; African American, Hispanic, Asian and Native American students represent roughly 60 percent of the student body. Northeastern is a fully accredited public university serving the Chicago metropolitan area offering programs in the arts, sciences, business and education.

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  • Ohio Association of Community Colleges

    The trustees, presidents and staff of the Ohio Association of Community Colleges (OACC) are dedicated to the advancement and implementation of sound policy and initiatives that work to ensure the success of the more than 300,000 community college students in Ohio. Rooted in the belief that every person should have access to a high-quality college education, the OACC supports the mission of the state’s 23 community colleges to provide programming in technical education, lower-division baccalaureate education, developmental education, and continuing education in our local communities.

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  • Public Agenda

    Public Agenda is a nonpartisan research and public engagement organization dedicated to strengthening democracy and expanding opportunity for all Americans.

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  • SAS

    SAS is a trusted analytics powerhouse for organizations seeking immediate value from their data. Through innovative software and services, SAS empowers and inspires customers around the world to transform data into intelligence. Their bench of analytics solutions and broad industry knowledge keep our customers coming back and feeling confident. With SAS, you can discover insights from your data and make sense of it all, identify what’s working and fix what isn’t, make more intelligent decisions and drive relevant change.

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  • Smarter Balanced

    Smarter Balanced is the result of state education agency staff, teachers, higher education faculty, and other educators working together to create a “best of the best” assessment system with the ultimate goal of increasing the number of students who are well prepared for college and careers. This effort began with the recognition that most assessment systems were disjointed, outdated, and did not offer a cohesive set of tools to help educators improve teaching and learning.

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  • Sound View Strategies

    Founded in 2009, Sound View Strategies is made up of a team of highly accomplished professionals with decades of combined experience. SVS provides strategic guidance for a diverse set of clients including private companies, coalitions, elected officials and candidates, initiative campaigns, labor unions and non-profits — influencing countless legislative decisions at the local, state and national level.

  • Southern University at New Orleans

    Southern University at New Orleans (SUNO), a public, historically black university, empowers and promotes the upward mobility of diverse populations of traditional and nontraditional students through quality academic programs, teaching, research, and service to achieve excellence in higher education using various teaching and learning modalities. SUNO was founded as a branch unit of Southern University and Agricultural & Mechanical College in Baton Rouge (SUBR) on September 4, 1956.

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  • Texas Education Agency

    The Texas Education Agency is the state agency that oversees primary and secondary public education. It is headed by the commissioner of education. The Texas Education Agency improves outcomes for all public school students in the state by providing leadership, guidance, and support to school systems.

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  • The Aspen Institute

    The Aspen Institute has earned a reputation for gathering diverse, nonpartisan thought leaders, creatives, scholars and members of the public to address some of the world’s most complex problems. But the goal of these convenings is to have an impact beyond the conference room. They are designed to provoke, further and improve actions taken in the real world.

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  • The Joyce Foundation

    The Joyce Foundation is a nonpartisan private foundation that invests in public policies and strategies to advance racial equity and economic mobility for the next generation in the Great Lakes region.

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  • The New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce

    The New Orleans Regional Black Chamber of Commerce (NORBCC) is a 10 -Parish member-based organization that focuses on the empowerment and advocacy for Minority-owned business organizations throughout our region. NORBCC’s role is to engage and strengthen businesses. When business thrives, it can play its role in employing our citizens and engaging in important community issues. We encourage business interactions and organic relationship development through outreach mechanisms including advocacy, educational seminars, awareness of opportunities, social media campaigns, industry-specific networking, and affiliate partner events.

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  • U.S. Chamber of Commerce

    The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation is dedicated to strengthening America’s long-term competitiveness and educating the public on how our free enterprise system improves society and the economy. The Foundation conducts research and produces events on issues facing business now and in the future. Through its initiatives, the Foundation builds skills, drives innovation, and encourages growth.

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  • United Way of Southeast Louisiana

    The United Way of Southeast Louisiana spends a great deal of time identifying, assessing and monitoring the most pressing needs in our region. They then fund programs, support collaborations, convene experts, advocate for change and foster new and needed community services to address the issues based on best practices. The organization works tirelessly to provide quality health and human services for our community and measure the results to ensure we are making a difference.

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  • University of Mississippi

    Founded in 1848, the University of Mississippi, affectionately known to alumni, students and friends as Ole Miss, is Mississippi’s flagship university. Included in the elite group of R-1: Doctoral Universities – Highest Research Activity by the Carnegie Classification, it has a long history of producing leaders in public service, academics and business. With more than 24,000 students, Ole Miss is the state’s largest university and is ranked among the nation’s fastest-growing institutions. Its 15 academic divisions include a major medical school, nationally recognized schools of accountancy, law and pharmacy, and the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, renowned for a blend of academic rigor, experiential learning and opportunities for community action.

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  • University of South Florida

    A preeminent research university located in the heart of Tampa Bay, the University of South Florida is dedicated to empowering students to maximize their potential for lifelong success. Led by outstanding faculty and professional staff, the University of South Florida conducts innovative scholarship, creative activity and basic and translational research, and delivers a world-class educational experience promoting the success of our talented and diverse undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. As a public metropolitan research university, USF, in partnership with our communities, serves the people of Florida, the nation, and the world by fostering intellectual inquiry and outcomes that positively shape the future – regionally, nationally and globally.

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  • Vera Institute of Justice

    Our mission is to end the overcriminalization and mass incarceration of people of color, immigrants, and people experiencing poverty. Our vision is a safe, healthy, empowered communities and a fair, accountable justice system. Vera is powered by hundreds of advocates, researchers, and activists working to transform the criminal legal and immigration systems until they’re fair for all. Founded in 1961 to advocate for alternatives to money bail in New York City, Vera is now a national organization that partners with impacted communities and government leaders for change. We develop just, antiracist solutions so that money doesn’t determine freedom; fewer people are in jails, prisons, and immigration detention; and everyone in the system is treated with dignity.

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  • We Raise New Jersey

    WRNJ is a diverse coalition of New Jersey organizations and associations that are united in our belief that New Jersey students need and deserve a world-class education to effectively compete and succeed in our rapidly changing world. Our coalition organizes the power of each member organization into a collective voice to advocate for high quality academic standards and aligned assessments, and to ensure that every child is prepared for college, career, and active citizenship in our communities.

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  • Wiley College

    Wiley College, founded in 1873 in Marshall, Texas, is a historically black, primarily liberal arts, residential, co-educational, baccalaureate degree-granting institution affiliated with The United Methodist Church. Committed to the principle of educational access, the College serves traditional and non-traditional students from diverse backgrounds who have expressed a desire and potential for learning in a Christian environment. The College, in fulfilling its basic purpose of providing a liberal arts education with a global focus, endeavors to provide an intellectually stimulating environment, promoting student competencies in communication as well as critical and analytical thinking. The College also supports spiritual, ethical, moral, and leadership development. To achieve these superordinate goals, the College promotes an atmosphere of academic freedom and employs a faculty committed to excellence and innovation in teaching, advising, and scholarship. The faculty provides a rigorous curriculum for preparing graduates for professional or graduate studies and/or productive careers in traditional and emerging career fields. Wiley College is committed to shared governance and exemplary stewardship of its resources. The College employs innovative techniques and strategic planning in all its administrative processes, using cutting-edge technology in the delivery of services to its clientele. Acknowledging its covenant relationship with The United Methodist Church, the College affirms the ideal of social responsibility and seeks to contribute to the welfare and revitalization of its community.

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