As part of its ongoing effort to help member institutions magnify their economic impact, APLU recently announced finalists for its 2017 Innovation & Economic Prosperity University Awards. The awards honor institutions performing exemplary work to advance the economic wellbeing of their states, regions, and the nation through a variety of efforts. In this first in a three-part series, APLU spotlights finalists in the “Talent” IEP Universities Awards category, for exemplary initiatives in education and workforce development. One of the finalists will be named the Talent category award winner Sunday, November 12 in Washington, DC during the APLU Annual Meeting.
Iowa State University has established an ecosystem to incubate startups and advise existing firms, focusing on talent and business development. Last year, the university launched the Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurship to provide a 10-week summer accelerator program for students. Students pitch business plans, participate in educational sessions, and receive mentoring as they launch businesses. Iowa State’s CyBiz Lab provides interdisciplinary consulting to companies and faculty commercialization efforts, providing students hands-on experience while supporting local businesses.
Internships provide additional opportunities for students to gain work experience. Each year, more than 250 students intern at the Iowa State University Research Park, where over 60 companies have operations to benefit from the university’s expertise, research infrastructure, and talent. All told, nearly 2,500 Iowa State students interned with more than 1,000 Iowa companies located in 76 counties across the state within the last academic year.
Iowa State also contributes to the state’s talent development through learning and skills development programs for students before they enter college. The university runs the North Central STEM Hub, one of six regional hubs of the Iowa Governor’s STEM Initiative, to spark student interest in the STEM disciplines.