CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- The partisanship divide in Washington subsided earlier this month, though for only a day.
The Sept. 12 "Business Week" headline "What do Marco Rubio and Deval Patrick agree on?" foreshadowed the truce at the Opportunity Nation Summit, held at The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
Shortly after these two men gave passionate speeches at their respective party conventions, Sen. Rubio, R-Fla., and Democratic Gov. Patrick of Massachusetts shared a common fire at the summit.
A national campaign to promote opportunity, social mobility and access to the American dream, Opportunity Nation has sparked interest from leaders across the country and on both sides of the political fence.
The "Chronicle of Philanthropy" called Opportunity Nation one of the10 nonprofits to watch in 2012. Its recent summit brought people with experience creating community change together to discuss how to increase economic, educational and civic opportunities and to release the organization's strategic plan and opportunity index.
I am honored to be part of the Opportunity Nation Leaders and Scholars program. Leaders and scholars -- 130 in all -- represented 43 states and the District of Columbia. Each has an unwavering commitment to expanding economic mobility and proven success as a mobilizer in their communities.
Participants learned about the opportunity index and each other. Our charge is to go into our communities and use the shared plan to increase opportunity. Our shared plan is the result of meetings and listening sessions from a diverse group and has eight facets:
1. Engage employers as part of the solution.
2. Incentivize innovation through an enterprising pathways program.
3. Reauthorize and reform federal policies to improve career and technical education.
4. Pair college planning support for low-income students with asset development.
5. Boost mentoring.
6. Drive community collaboration to reconnect youth, re-engaging high school dropouts and preparing them for the labor force.
7. Increase pathways to secondary education success and postsecondary education success.