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APLU Releases Policy Blueprint for Public Universities & Federal Government to Strengthen Economic & Social Prosperity

Washington, DC – The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities today released a policy blueprint for how public universities and the federal government can strengthen their partnership to build a modern workforce that meets the evolving needs of employers and collaborate on innovation while also becoming more effective partners with their communities to address local problems and foster opportunity and economic mobility.

Report CoverUniversities and the federal government should take advantage of new opportunities to renew their commitment to driving national economic and social prosperity, according to APLU’s report, Advancing University-Engaged Economic and Social Prosperity.

APLU calls on public universities and the federal government to take specific actions in:

  • Building a thriving rural America;
  • Meeting the demand for 21st century talent and skills;
  • Securing American leadership in advanced manufacturing;
  • Stimulating and accelerating university-based innovation and entrepreneurship; and
  • Fostering equitable, inclusive economic opportunity and mobility

The longstanding partnership between public research universities and the federal government has led to a globally competitive economy and vibrant communities. The report includes nearly 50 recommendations universities and the federal government should undertake to strengthen economic and community development.

“Public universities’ partnership with government and others is key to solving problems in communities, states, and across the nation,” said APLU President Peter McPherson. “Policymakers and university leaders can bolster national economic competitiveness and resilience by strategically implementing policies and programs that promote university-engaged economic and community development. I am deeply grateful to the working group that helped develop this report and to Eric Barron, President of Penn State University who leads our economic development group, and Catherine Howard, Vice Provost of Virginia Commonwealth University, who leads our community engagement group, for their leadership role in releasing this paper and elevating the profile of economic and community development policy issues.”

“Research and education have always opened doors that benefit the nation we serve, and today, we are energized to join millennial undergraduates in fueling the next wave of innovation,” said Penn State University President Eric J. Barron who serves as chair of the APLU Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity (CICEP). “Through talent and workforce development, technology-based activities, and placemaking through social, cultural and community engagement, public universities and land-grant institutions are well-positioned to transform our economy.”

“For community engagement officers on our campuses, this paper highlights how universities and their government partners can help build resilient communities, a strong workforce, and most importantly, foster economic opportunity and mobility,” Howard said. “Many institutions of higher ed, including my own, have been embracing their role as anchor institutions and working with community partners to instill community resilience and help create great places to work and live. Together, with our economic development and government partners, we hope this paper and its recommendations will help foster prosperity for all Americans.”

Educational institutions often serve as anchors in their regions. In many areas of the country, colleges are the key to holding the community together, with the support of other partners including federal, state and local government agencies. The APLU report notes that universities and their federal partners should seize the opportunity to strengthen a long-standing partnership to bolster economic mobility across the nation ranging from rural America to urban metropolises.

APLU’s Office of Economic Development and Community Engagement in coordination with its Commission on Innovation, Competitiveness and Economic Prosperity (CICEP) and its Council on Engagement and Outreach (CEO) convened a working group that led to the development of the report’s recommendations. The working group included university-based experts working on economic development and community engagement.

CEO-CICEP Public Policy Working Group members:

  • Jorge Atiles, Oklahoma State University
  • Glynda Becker, Washington State University
  • Rena Cotsones, Southern Illinois University
  • Angela Philips Diaz, University of California-San Diego
  • Tim Franklin, New Jersey Institute of Technology
  • Matthew Hebb, Dalhousie University
  • Catherine Howard, Virginia Commonwealth University
  • Lawrence Molnar, University of Michigan (Co-Chair)
  • Valerie O. Paton, Texas Tech University
  • Ashley Stokes, Colorado State University
  • Margaret Traband, University of Toledo
  • Arnold Weinfeld, Michigan State University
  • Amanda Wintersteen, Penn State University (Co-Chair)
  • Chad Wootton, Texas A&M University

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