Education - Page 1 - Academia and business team up

Education
- Page 1
Academia and business team up
Higher education partners with business for innovative programming

By Lisa Baldino, Contributing Writer

Maryland colleges and universities are partnering with local businesses both to prepare their students for the “real world” and to contribute to the region’s economic development. Frostburg State University, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing and Harford Community College have each strengthened business relationships in their respective regions, giving students more opportunities to prepare for the workforce, as well as offering businesses access to workforce-ready graduates. These relationships have far-reaching impact.

“We are a conduit for business engagement, we are an economic and cultural hub, and we seek to enhance our contribution to the workforce and economic development needs of our region,” says Sudhir Singh, Ph.D., dean of Frostburg State University’s College of Business. Singh says the college of business has a global education focus, but is also rooted in the service of Allegany and Garrett counties in Maryland, Somerset and Bedford counties in Pennsylvania and Mineral County, West Virginia.

Singh cites a recent study the school did on the proposed minimum wage increase impact on the local business community. The three participating Frostburg faculty members shared the survey results with sponsors and two chambers of commerce. They also made sure the state legislators saw the study results. “We have a symbiotic relationship with the business community,” Singh says.“Our major goal is to amplify the opportunities for internships and jobs for students.”

Likewise, the business community benefits from prepared workers. Based on a study of the skills that would be required of future workers, the university refined its curriculum to concentrate on these competencies. For example, Singh says the school’s MBA program focus has been changed, adding concentrations in business analytics and health care management, along with the original general management concentration.

Al Delia, vice president for regional development and engagement at Frostburg, emphasizes that it’s about everyone using the university resources. “It doesn’t have to be just economic development,” he says. “It could be theater and dance, economics, sports. The goal is to help improve the area as a place where people want to live. Economic development is about bringing in people, bringing in jobs and having a quality of life.”

Delia, whose position is partially funded by the governor’s office, says all stakeholders must work together in an organized, strategic way.“The university can help improve business, and businesses can contribute to improved student life. We have an opportunity to spark innovation and to solve real world problems by connecting the right people.”

While the region is gearing up to become one of the most sought-after communities for employees and employers, Delia says some things that employers are looking for may not be job-related. “They may want education for their children, a lifestyle here,” Delia says. “It’s a long-term process with dramatic changes. It requires people to want

Partnership, continued on page 8