If you’re in the Washington DC area next Monday (March 19), you should come over to the International Economic Development Council’s (IEDC) Federal Forum in Alexandria, VA. On Monday afternoon, I’ll be chairing a panel on the topic of “Growing Regional Economies through University Partnerships.” I’ll be joined by Virginia Tech’s John Provo and Diane Palmintera of Innovation Associates.
My comments will be focused on what I see as an issue deserving much more attention. How can communities better partner with local community colleges and smaller colleges? Most of the national discussion focuses on the important role of large researach universities, but most places aren’t home to a Stanford, MIT, or large land-grant univerisites. Yet, they do host great colleges who may not do much scientific research but are important community anchors.
What can be done to better engage these schools in the process of community building? A huge menu of options is available. I’m going to talk about several projects that EntreWorks Consulting is currently supporting–these include:
- The National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship’s President’s Commitments, an effort to engage community college presidents across the US in supporting local entrepreneurial development.
- Several efforts sponsored by Virginia’s Region 2000 Partnership, including the Center for Advanced Engineering and Research and a new 6 college regional consortium focused on entrepreneurship training and related activities.
In some ways, I had hoped this panel was postponed a few weeks as I am looking forward to a late March trip to Kentucky’s Berea College, which is a global leader in effective community engagement and stewardship. Watch this space for a report on happenings at Berea soon. In the meantime, hope to see you in Alexandria on March 19!