IEP Award Talent Category Finalists: North Carolina State University and Wayne State University
As part of its ongoing effort to help member institutions magnify their economic impact, APLU recently announced finalists for its 2019 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 post, APLU spotlights North Carolina State University and Wayne State University, finalists in the “Talent” IEP Awards category, for their outstanding initiatives in education and workforce development. One of the finalists will be named the Talent category award winner Sunday, November 10 in San Diego, California during the APLU Annual Meeting.
North Carolina State University has taken a multipronged approach to developing talent that fuels economic development. The NC State Entrepreneurship Clinic works to integrate research, teaching, and work-and-learning opportunities to help students build the next generation of businesses in Raleigh. Students observe startup founders leading firms at various stages of development. The clinic provides courses and practice for both undergraduate and graduate students across multiple disciplines, including business, engineering, design, textiles, agriculture, and computer science.
Since the program launched in 2015 with just nine students in its inaugural year, the clinic has increased service to include nearly 800 students representing 22 majors. The program has seen 21 percent growth in student participation semester over semester and had 169 students develop projects during the Fall 2018 semester. Since 2015, 17 student startups have launched, raising over $5.6 million in outside funding to assist with student startups. The clinic received the 2018 Excellence in Co-Curricular Innovation Award from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.
Wayne State University is engaged in city-wide and regional initiatives to improve workforce participation rates and increase the proportion of individuals with high-skill credentials and college degrees. Research from the National Institute for Literacy revealed that 47 percent of the city’s residents lack basic literacy skills.
Recognizing the far-reaching impact of illiteracy on the community, the university established the Office of Adult Literacy in 2012 and launched the Harris Literacy Program in 2013. With the underlying goal of workforce development, the program provides adult basic education to help members of the Detroit community reach their academic goals and make steps toward greater self-sufficiency. In 2018, the program provided services to 160 English language and 150 math students, leading to 26 students enrolling in G.E.D. classes. The literacy center has served more than 1,700 Detroiters since 2013.
Additionally, Wayne State launched a suite of programs in 2018-19 to help adults with some college, but no degree. The university has identified and is reaching out to nearly 53,000 individuals, encouraging them to return to school. Through a pioneering debt-forgiveness program, innovative pathways including reverse transfer, and strong partnerships with community colleges, Wayne State is driving a talent development agenda and paving the way for students to earn their bachelor as well as their associate’s degrees. As a result of these city-wide and regional collaborations in which Wayne State is playing a leading role, Detroit was recently recognized as a Talent Hub by the Lumina Foundation.