About Us

About CEC


The CEC represents a partnership of
education, business, and community leaders.

Born of people and passion for a civic process, the Community Education Coalition (CEC) today represents a 25-year partnership of education, business, and community leaders focused on aligning and integrating the Columbus, Indiana and region’s community learning system with economic growth and an improved quality of life.

CEC is a noteworthy, yet unexpected, example of private business stepping up to support improvement efforts by public education partners. The results thus far are evident in two major buildings, significant national recognition, and ongoing initiatives to bolster educational attainment for all in the small, primarily rural, southeastern Indiana communities it serves. It’s no accident that the built environment of the community propels CEC, and that many new and innovative ways of working formed out of the business community—significant partners in its founding.

America’s success depends on growing our local, state, and national talent pools. Jamie Merisotis
CEO, Lumina Foundation

Meeting the challenges of education, economic opportunity, and community.

In 1997, a coalition was formed with community stakeholders and major businesses in collaboration with educators. Much like a three-legged stool, with the legs representing education, business, and community, each is required to meet the challenges. CEC then began its relentless focus on opening opportunities and providing access to skills building tools and education for the local and regional population.

Equity and Inclusivity The Community Education Coalition advances equity in all its work, paying special attention to racial and income inequality, to ensure that each person thrives educationally, financially, and civically.

CEC Milestones

These dates are milestones in the establishment of the Community Education Coalition and its facilities, transformative programs, and community initiatives. Click on event to learn more.



  • CEC Established


  • Ivy Tech, IUPUC, and Purdue begin degree program expansions.


  • Columbus Learning Center Opens


  • Dream It. Do It. High School Champions
  • Lilly Endowment funds the EcO Network with $38 million grant.


  • Latino Outreach Program
  • Advanced Manufacturing Center of Excellence Opens



  • Selected as Lumina Community Partnership for Attainment site
  • SkillUp Grant Indiana


  • Lumina Foundation Talent Hub Designation


  • Indiana University J. Irwin Miller Architecture Program Founded


  • Indiana Commission for Higher Education Grant
  • Indiana 21st Century Talent Region Designation
  • Cummins Inc. supports EcO Network including Latino Education & Outreach work.
  • Strada Education Network Grants