PDT Staff Writer
Shawnee State University (SSU) has recently formed an Economic Development Team under the direction of John Carey, assistant to the president for Government Relations and Strategic Initiatives. The goal of the team is to have the university viewed as a resource and facilitator for economic development in the region.
According to released information, “Shawnee State’s role in economic development was identified as a priority by our board (of trustees). To help us more clearly define ways in which we can support development efforts in our region while providing the most impact for our campus community, we have established an Economic Development Team. The team’s charge is to support the University’s mission “to enrich the lives of the community” by primarily fostering educational and career opportunities for SSU students and staff throughout the region in both the private and public sectors utilizing the SSU Outreach Office.”
“Part of our mission is to promote the regions not only educational health but economic well being. So, it makes sense for us to do this from a community commitment point of view. If we can find opportunities for our students, that means there is going to be more students interested in coming to Shawnee State University,” Carey said.
He said the economic development team is just beginning to establish its role.
“We (SSU) see ourselves as a resource for the community. What we’ve found is that to help the community we first need to do somethings internally, to be in a position to help. One thing that Dr. (Jeff) Bauer is doing is, surveying the faculty about what their expertise is and what they are interested in doing. We are doing this so we know what resources are available,” Carey said. “If a business or an employer comes to us and asks us to do something, we will be able to respond in a timely manner. If we are not able to meet the request we want to be able to help them find someone that can.”
Carey acknowledged the big task of economic development.
“One of the reasons the board of trustees and President (Rita Rice) Morris established the (University) Outreach Office with Don Washburn (Director) is because we wanted to expand our role in economic development,” Carey said. “We are talking to regional employers and on our advisory committee we have business leaders from around the region.”
According to released information, “the (economic development) team has built partnerships in the community to help identify assets and opportunities and is currently working with faculty to identify potential partnerships and connections with private businesses. The group is also working with Outreach to establish an infrastructure for co-op and internship programs through a grant that we received as a partner with the University of Cincinnati and University of Rio Grande and is working to develop a Business and Internship Advisory Committee comprised of leaders in different sectors in our region.”
He said they have found a tremendous amount of interest from employers in finding local graduates they could hire.
Carey said he hopes the result of their efforts will be for SSU to be viewed as a resource and a facilitator for economic development.
“We are focusing more on outreach. We have to be more engaged in the community if we are going to be able to serve the population,” Carey said. “Seventy percent of our students come from this region so, we also want to give them opportunities to peruse here in the region or have the option to go anywhere in the world.”
For more information about Shawnee State University and their many programs and activities visit www.shawnee.edu.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org.